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Illustrations by Lex Fulton


New York
© Copyright 1960 by The English Universities
Press, Ltd.
All Rights Reserved.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 68-12801
Originally published by The English Universities
Press, Ltd., under the title Teach Yourself Yoga
Published 1968 by Punk & Wagnalls, A Division
of Reader’s Digest Books, Inc., by arrangement
with The English Universities Press, Ltd.
Manufactured in the United States of America

Introduction. What Is Yoga? . . 7



I The Path to Health (Hatha Yoga) •

II Yoga Hygiene and Diet •
III Yoga Postures (Asanas) •
IV Yoga Relaxation (Savasana) 0 67
V Yoga Breathing (Pranayama) • 70

VI Making the Most of the Exercises



VII The Royal Path (Raja Yoga) 97

VIII Yoga Meditation no
IX Yoga Concentration (Dharana) 124
X Psychic Powers -
XI Self-Reahzation (Samadhi) . 146
Meditation Exercises . 165
Glossary ..... 177
Index ..... 183
I thank the following for giving permission to quote
Mr. Alain Danielou and Christopher Johnson Pubhshers
Ltd., from Yoga, The Method of Re-integration; Dr. Albert
Schweitzer and A. & C. Black Ltd., from Indian Thought
and Its Development and The Ethics of Reverence for Life;
Dr. W. Y, Evans-Wentz and Oxford University Press,
from The Tibetan Book of The Dead; Mr. F. Yeats-Brown
and Victor GoUancz Ltd., from Yoga Explained; Dr. Lily
Abegg and Thames and Hudson Ltd., from The Mind of
East Asia; Mr. Mouni Sadhu and George Allen & Unwin
Ltd., from In Days of Great Peace; Dr. Innes H. Pearse and
Lucy H. Crocker, B.Sc. and George Allen & Unwin Ltd.,
from The Peckham Experiment; Mr. Romain Rolland and
Cassell and Co. Ltd., from Prophets of the New India; The
Pubhc Trustee and The Society of Authors, from George
Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman; Mr. Romain Rolland
and George G. Harrap and Co Ltd., from Jean-Christophe;
the late Dr. Alexis Carrel and Hamish Hamilton Ltd., from
Man The Unknown; the late Dr. Maurice NicoU and
Vincent Stuart, Pubhshers Ltd., from Living Time and
the Integration of the Life; the late Theos. Bernard and
Rider & Co., from Hatha Yoga; Dr. Paul Brunton and
Rider & Co., from The Quest of The Overself; Mr. Aldous
Huxley and Chatto and Windus Ltd., from The Perennial
Philosophy and Ends and Means; Mr. George A. Dorsey
and Harper and Brothers, New York, from Why We
Behave Like Humans; the late Sri Aurobindo and the Sri
Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, India. Advaita Ashrama,
Calcutta for extracts from Swami Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga,
Bhakti Yoga and Practical Vedanta.

Yoga goes back two thousand years before the birth
of Christ. The first written account of its teachings
was by the Indian Patanjah, probably in the second
century. The word ‘Yoga’ is derived through the
Sanskrit, from the same Indo-European root as the
Enghsh ‘to yoke’. It can also be translated as ‘union’
or ‘identification’. This ‘union’ is the merging of the
individual soul with the universal soul. The Yogi
beheves that there is a universal Overself with whom
he can make contact and identify himself in moments
of higher consciousness. By a programme of bodily
and mental self-discipline we who move on lower
levels of consciousness can achieve Samadhi (union
with divine consciousness). This is the moment of
spiritual illumination, of self-realization. It is the
meditative bhss of the religious mystic throughout the
ages. Poets, artists and musicians have been touched
at times by the divine breath. And we too may have
experienced it in those moments—very often in
childhood—when we were carried out of ourselves
on being confronted by the beautiful and the wonder-
ful. Visvanatha has said: “The experience of beauty
is pure, self-manifested, compounded equally of joy
and consciousness, free from admixture of any other per-
ception, the very twin brother of mystical experience,
and the very hfe of it is supersensuous wonder.” The
Yoga teaching is that all can strive for such exper-
ience, and that many paths can be taken to attain it.
In the Yoga Sara Sangraha we find this definition:
“The silencing of the mind’s activities which leads
to the complete realization of the intrinsic nature of
the Supreme Person is called Yoga.” The Bhagavad
Gita says: “The yogi who has conquered himself,
whose inner peace is not disturbed by cold or heat,
pain or pleasure, honours or insults, whose all being
is set on the Supreme Self, whose inner faculties are
satiated with knowledge and Transcendent Wisdom
without impulses, his sense mastered, looking to mud
and gold with an equal eye, is said to be yoked.”
Yoga is therefore a spiritual technique, a method,
a way, a path. It is not a rehgion, but is nevertheless a
spiritual exercise or meditative technique for the
The sacred writings of all the major reUgions advise
such meditation.

There is no meditation apart from wisdom.
There is no wisdom apart from meditation.
Those in whom wisdom and meditation meet
Are not far from peace.
Those whose hearts are in a state of repose
give forth a divine radiance
by which they see themselves as they are.
And only by cultivating such repose
can man attain to the constant.
[Kwang Tze).

He who is rich in control renounces everything.
and meditates on the reflections on hfe.
He whose soul is purified by meditating
is compared to a ship in water.
Like a ship reaching the shore, he gets beyond
{Sutra-Kritanga Sutra).

Whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report,
if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise,
think on these things.

Meditate on thy Lord in thine own mind with
and without loud speaking, evening and morning.
And be not one of the neghgent.

Whoever here among men attain greatness,
they have, as it were, part of the reward of
Reverence meditation.

He who reverences meditation as the Supreme—

as far as meditation goes,
so far he has unlimited freedom.
[Chandogya Upanishad).

The world is an ocean, and difhcult to cross.
How shall man traverse it?

As a lotus in the water remaineth dry,

As also a water-fowl in the stream—
So by meditating on the Word
Shalt thou be unaffected by the world.
[Guru Nanak).

The spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola

included Yoga-like practices. Buddhist meditation
utilizes Yoga, especially the Yogacara school which
lays emphasis on the trance. But the most detailed
descriptions of Yoga methods are to be foimd in the
sacred works of the Hindu, such as the Vedas, the
Tantras, etc. “From the point of view of their ultimate
significance all the Hindu scriptures, indeed the
scriptures of all reUgions, may be said to be treatises
of Yoga’’, writes Alain Danielou in his Yoga: The
Method of Re-Integration. “The aim of all religions
is to bring man towards union with, or re-integration
into the Supreme Being. Rehgious practices or moral
disciplines are only prehminary stages in this process.”
There is nothing in Yoga that should offend people
of the Christian or any other faith. Yoga teaches the
unity of all life and sets out a programme of practical
exercises whereby you can experience this. Anyone
can benefit from Yoga. The behever who practises
it will be brought closer to God. Ramakrishna says:
“Through Yoga a Hindu becomes a better Hindu, a
Christian a better Christian, a Mohammedan a better
Mohammedan, and a Jew a better Jew.’’
Equally, an agnostic or atheist may practise Yoga
and derive great benefit. This may seem strange until
you come to understand just what the Yoga techniques
involve. The system of physical mastery known as
Hatha Yoga, and the system of psychical mastery
known as Raja Yoga—the two Yogas with which
this work is chiefly concerned—constitute in them-

selves, regardless of the mystical goal for which they

were originally created, efhcacious ways to health,
relaxation, mental power and peace of mind. An
atheist may even seek Samadhi, but will look on it as
a means of relaxation of the brain, as a mental state
in which there is a strong and very pleasant feeling of
‘oneness’ with the universe, or perhaps as a brief con-
tact with a higher state of consciousness towards
which man is evolving.
Whatever your behef, whatever your sex, age or
race, put Yoga into practice and it will lead to more
abundant living.

The Yoga Paths

While the supreme bHss resulting from Union
(Samadhi) is the goal of Yoga, there are many paths
to its attainment.
Here are the six main paths:

(1) . Jnana Yoga union by knowledge,

(2) . Bhakti Yoga union by love,
(3) . Karma Yoga union by service,
(4) . Mantra Yoga union by speech,
(5) . Hatha Yoga union by bodily control,
(6) . Raja Yoga union by mental control.

From this you will see that the ancient Yogis in

their wisdom devised many paths for the many
different temperaments of men.
Jnana is obviously for the intellectual. The truths
of existence and the nature of the Self are examined.
The Yogi student must see for himself that he is not
the body, feelings, personahty, or intellect, but their
user. The pure Self is concealed like the sun behind
cloud. Only by the most dihgent self-training can it
be revealed and experienced as reahty.
Bhakti involves faith and worship. It is the Yoga of
devotion, involving concentration and meditation
on the Divine. It is the way of the emotions as Jnana
is of the intellect. It asks for service to your fellow men
and complete unselfishness.
Karma is for the active and the extravert. It is work
performed for the service of mankind, and at the same
time it is worship. The craftsman worships with his
tools, the farmer with his plough.
Vivekananda beheved in a synthesis of the various
Yogas—Jnana, Bhakti, Karma, Raja—to achieve self-
reahzation. And he warned against hfe-negation.
Meditation should not lead to introspective egoism,
but to an annihilation of egoism and the feeling of
identification with all people, in whom one recognizes
one’s own Self. Thus the Yogi should seek to serve
others. Not “I”, but “Thou”, said Vivekananda,
should be the watchword of all well-being. “Here is
the world and it is full of misery. Go out into it as
Buddha did and struggle to lessen it or die in the
attempt. Forget yourselves; this is the first lesson to
be learnt, whether you are a theist or an atheist,
whether you are an agnostic or a Vedantist, a Christian
or a Mohammedan.” {Practical Vedanta).
Mantra concentrates the mind by means of Japa,
the repetition of prayers and incantations. The Japa
may be voiced, whispered, or mental. Mantra deals
with the subject of sound vibrations, and there is much
in this path that will fascinate the musician.
Hatha enables you to understand your body and
gain mastery over it.
It is Hatha Yoga which makes the most immediate
appeal to the Occidental, and it is this Yoga that is
best known in the West. Physical exercises, hygiene,
breathing practices, etc., are all part of Hatha Yoga.
The ancient Yogis had an astounding knowledge of
the workings of the human body. It was this know-
ledge—together with the study of the stretching
movements of jungle animals (especially those of the
cat family)—that enabled them to formulate the most
perfect of all systems for achieving and maintaining
bodily health and fitness. The superiority of this
system over others Ues in the fact that it aims at
developing not just muscular strength or size, but the
health and efficiency of the internal organs: the heart,
lungs, glands, nerves, and so on. Also, it does not
require any apparatus and can be practised in a
confined space.
Raja Yoga is closely linked with the Hatha and
they are often practised together. Some Yogi authori-
ties lay great stress on the bodily Hatha Yoga, while
others of the Raja Yoga school consider only a little
Hatha necessary and rely entirely on psychic develop-
ment. Just as the Hatha aims at mastering the body,
so Raja aims at mastering the mind. It seeks to gain
control over the stream of thoughts that flow through
the human mind. It seeks to check that flow and still
the mind by means of Concentration (Dharana) and
Contemplation (Dhyana). By these practices a state
of Superconsciousness (Samadhi) may be achieved.
Just as Everest could not have been conquered by
weaklings, so the Yogi knows that to reach his spiritual
goal his body must be at its fittest and most efficient
and the mind must be conquered and made the servant
of the Self.
Hatha and Raja Yoga are therefore means to an
end, but even if you ignore the end and think only of
the means, you have on the one hand the world’s
finest physical-culture system, and on the other hand
a method of mental mastery that puts expensive mind-
training courses in the shade.
Romain RoUand, in Prophets of the New India, says:
‘‘Normally we waste our energies. Not only are they
squandered in all directions by the tornado of exterior
impressions; but even when we manage to shut doors
and windows, we find chaos within ourselves, a
multitude like the one that greeted Julius Caesar in the
Roman Forum; thousands of unexpectedly and mostly
‘undesirable’ guests invade and trouble us. No inner
activity can be seriously effective and continuous
until we have first reduced our house to order, and
then have recalled and reassembled our herd of
scattered energies.”
Raja Yoga is designed to do just that—put our
mental house in order and concentrate our scattered

energies. It integrates the mind, stills its turbulence,

cleanses it, strengthens it. Just as a body that has been
cleansed of its toxic waste becomes healthier and
stronger, so a mind emptied of its encumbering dross
becomes healthier and stronger. Regular Raja Yoga
practice builds up a store of mental energy that will
remain on tap.
By holding the mind steady in Dharana dormant
powers are awakened. Some readers may question
this, but Yoga students testify that it is so. Those
famiUar with the psychology of the subconscious will
understand the seeming paradox that when the mind
is relaxed and held steady in a receptive state many
creative and intellectual problems will work them-
selves out to a solution, magically and effortlessly.
As a writer, I experience this regularly.
Laya (Latent) Yoga is a combination of many
Yogas—breathing, postures, listening to inner sounds,
etc., including the mysterious Kundalini Yoga. This
sets out to awaken what is symboHcaUy described as
Kundalini, ‘‘the coiled serpent’’ said to sleep at the
base of the spine, which when aroused travels upwards
through the sushumna or spinal channel, passing
through various centres or chakras until, when it
reaches the centre of consciousness in the brain, a
super conscious state is achieved. There is a considerable
literature on the symbology of the chakras, depicted
in ancient Yogi Hterature as a series of many-petalled
flowers, bearing numerous symbols. Some modern
investigators approximate the chakras with the prin-
cipal nerve ganglia, others with the glands. It is a
Yoga fraught with danger for those who would
tamper with it without the guidance of a qualifred

Yoga Miracles. Live Burial, Acid Drinking.

Many people mentally associate Yoga with such
feats as being buried ahve, drinking acid, or lying on
a bed of nails. The genuine Yogi deplores such exhi-
bitionism. The limb withering fakir, the bed of nails
and the hair shirt are perversions of Yoga. The San-
skrit text-books clearly state that excessive asceticism
is not necessary. Moderation is to be the rule. In the
Bhagavad Gita we frnd this advice:
“O white Arjuna, this yoga is not attained by him
who eats too much, nor by him who abstains from
food. Nor by him who oversleeps nor him who keeps
“This yoga which destroys pain is achieved by him
who eats and behaves as is proper, whose all actions
are led by reason, whose sleep and wake are regulated.’’
In spite of this, sensational displays of bodily or
psychic powers are quite often encountered in the East.
The burial ahve of the Yogi Haridas in 1837 was
authentically corroborated by Sir Claude Wade, Dr.
Janos Honiberger and the British Consul at Lahore.
Reports state that Haridas took only milk for several
days before the burial. On the day of the burial he ate
nothing, but performed the Yogic internal cleansing
method of swallowing a long strip of cloth, retaining
it for a while in the stomach to absorb bile, etc. Then
he performed another internal cleansing exercise,
nauli, standing up to his neck in warm water and
washing out the colon. AU the openings of his body
were then stopped up with wax. As do many Yogis
he had cut the root of his tongue so that it could be
rolled back to seal the entrance to the throat. Haridas
was wrapped in linen and placed in a box which was
locked by the Maharaja of Lahore and kept in a summer
house with sealed door and windows. The house was
guarded day and night by the Maharaja’s bodyguard.
After forty days the box was opened. The Yogi’s
servant washed his master with warm water, removed
the wax stoppers and put warm yeast on his scalp.
He forced the teeth open with a knife and unfolded
the tongue. Tongue and eyehds were then rubbed
with butter. After half-an-hour Haridas ‘came to Ufe’,
seemingly none the worse for his experience.
Mr. F. Yeats-Brown, in his Yoga Explained, tells
of a Yogi who delighted in drinking acid. “A remark-
able Yogi died recently in Rangoon. His name was
Narasingha Swami. In December 1934, he gave an
exhibition at Calcutta University before Sir C. V.
Raman and other distinguished people, during which
he drank lethal doses of sulphuric acid, nitric acid, and
carboUc acid, laying them first on the palm of his hand,
and then licking them up with his tongue. In March
1935, he went to Rangoon, where he several times
swallowed the favourite poisons of suicides, including a
gramme of potassium cyanide, without any Ul effects.
“He did this once too often, however. One night
he went home, apparently none the worse for eating
broken glass and half-inch nails, as well as drinking
aqua regia, and sat talking with some visitors until
midnight, omitting to cleanse his alimentary canal
by passing several quarts of water in one stream from
mouth to anus, as was his usual custom. Presently
he complained of a stomach-ache; then his right leg
became paralysed. He was removed to a hospital and
died twelve hours later.’’
Whether one deplores their ostentatious nature or
not, such feats as the two described above do show
the amazing knowledge of body, mind and the laws
of hfe possessed by the Indian Yogi.

Wisdom of the East

A certain conceit and intellectual snobbishness
sometimes makes Westerners intolerant of any sug-
gestion that a half-naked Yogi seated cross-legged in
a Himalayan cave may know more in some respects
than a person educated in a Western university and
hving in a smart home full of up to date comforts and
labour saving devices. They forget that the Orientals
had their civihzations long before we did and that
Occidental scientists are still making discoveries that
have been known to the East for thousands of years,
but descriptions of which are often clothed in obscure
and symbolic language.
In the West we have explored and dissected the

external world, while the Oriental thinkers and

scholars have been more concerned with penetrating
the inner world of consciousness. They sought the
laws of the universe inside themselves, beheving their
consciousness to be microcosm in macrocosm. It is
significant that psychology, the study of mind, is
the youngest Western science.
An expert on the East, Dr. Paul Brunton, in his
book The Quest of The Overself says:
“We Westerners are rightly proud of our achieve-
ments in ‘face-lifting’ this world of ours, but we get
a Httle disturbed sometimes when we hear of a half-
naked fakir performing a feat which we can neither
match nor imderstand. The thing keeps on occurring
sufficiently often to remind us that there are ancient
secrets and hoary wisdom in the lands which He east
of Suez, and that the inhabitants of these colourful
coxintries are not all the benighted heathens some of us
think they are. We picture these Yogis as dreaming
enthusiasts who desert the normal ways of mankind
to go off into strange hiding-places, into gloomy
caves, lonely mountains and secluded forests. But they
go off with a clear objective, setting themselves no
less a task than the acquisition of a perfect and incredi-
ble control over the frail tenement of flesh. To attain
this end they practise the hard and exacting discipline
laid down in their traditions. That nowadays the pubhc
comes into contact mainly with vagabonds, impostors
and idle tramps, who delude others, or themselves,
into the belief that they are Yogis, does not invahdate

the truth of the tradition nor the genuineness of its

best exponents/’

Health and Happiness in an Age of Stress

The age of Yoga, ignorance of its true nature, and
the symbohstic obscurity of much of the writings on
the subject, give many Westerners—moving as they
do in a world of hustle and bustle—the impression
that the system holds nothing for them and is all
rather remote, vague and impractical. In this they
make a grave mistake, for Yoga is the most practical
available means of attaining health and happiness in
an age of stress.
I am not one of those pessimists who beUeve that
civihzation should be destroyed and that we should
return to something bordering on the cave-man
stage of human development. The harnessing of the
forces of nature, electricity, atomic energy, flying
faster than sound, space exploration . . . these are
wonderful achievements, triumphs for Man in his
conquest of the universe. But sometimes he is inclined
to forget that he is not a machine, but a living being.
In the West millions live at such a hectic pace that
they are committing slow suicide. Civihzation imposes
a stress and strain unknown to our grandparents. Man
can only successfully meet this challenge by paying
increasing attention to his physical and mental well-
Yoga provides an answer to the problem of the West.

When I first took up daily Yoga practice many

years ago I kept a record of my reactions in a little
notebook. Looking at it now, I sec the following results.
Almost immediately was reported a definite increase
in vitahty. The vitaHty increased with the weeks.
Stamina was greatly increased and I felt quite fresh
even at the end of a busy day.
The postures (Asanas) made my muscles firmer and
better shaped. I felt (and was) stronger and more
supple. My posture became more upright and my
physique more athletic.
My weight dropped by ten pounds in three months
and my waistline was reduced one inch. The abdo-
minal muscles became firmer and more defined. Bowel
elimination became regular. Friends remarked how
well I was looking. I felt more buoyant and youthful.
I found that my mind had become more tranquil
and my temperament more placid. I was master of my
emotions. I rarely gave way to anger, or the other
negative emotions. My outlook on hfe became
brighter and I had a greater zest for Hving. I lived
more in the present, less in the past and future. I
looked at the world and myself more objectively.
My sense of awareness was heightened. Concentra-
tion was much improved and I could work more
efficiently and for long stretches without experiencing
mental fatigue.
I began to feel at one with—and reverent towards—
all living things.
The author has talked with many people who have
taken up regular Yoga practice and the results he has
achieved are similar to theirs and by no means excep-
tional. It is because of such benefits as these that
scientists, writers, psychologists, artists, musicians,
ballet-dancers, singers, sportsmen and sportswomen,
indeed people in all walks of life, practise Yoga and
are loud in praise of its help in achieving healthier,
happier, and more efficient living.
It is not necessary to hve a life of sohtude to achieve
results. You can take an active part in the hurly-burly
of civilized life and the daily practice of Yoga will act
as a protection from the numerous stresses of your
environment. But best results are attained by exer-
cising and meditating alone, and some quiet part of
the home should be utihzed for tliis purpose. The
Siva Samhita makes it clear that it is not necessary to
become a hermit to achieve success in Yoga:
“He who is contented with what he gets, who
restrains his senses, being a householder, who is not
absorbed in the household duties, certainly attains
emancipation by the practice of Yoga. Even the lordly
householders obtain success by Japa, if they perform
the duties of Yoga properly. Let, therefore, a house-
holder also exert in Yoga (his wealth and conditions
of life are no obstacles in this). Living in the house
amidst wife and children, but being free from attach-
ment to them, practising Yoga in secrecy, a house-
holder even finds marks of success (slowly crowning
his efforts), and thus following this teaching of mine,
he ever lives in blissful happiness.*’

Whether you are a business man, a farmer, a factory

worker, a university student, or a housewife. Yoga has
something to offer. Whatever your age, sex, creed or
race, you can achieve the same results by following
this wonderful hfe-science—glowing health, increased
energy and stamina, a shapelier body, relaxation,
improved concentration, peace of mind.



Asanas (Postures), various Kumbhakas (breathing

exercises), and other divine means, all should be
utilized in the practice of Hatha Yoga, till the
fruit—Raja Yoga—is obtained.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika

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The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Patanjali, who has been called “the father of Yoga”,
states in his Sutras that there are eight hmbs of Yoga:
Abstinences (Yamas), Observances (Niyanias), Pos-
tures (Asanas), Breath Control (Pranayama), Sense
Withdrawal (Pratyahara), Concentration (Dharana),
Contemplation (Dhyana), and Self-realization
(Samadhi). To these may be added the Six Purifica-
tion Practices or Shat Karma.

The Five Abstinences (Yamas)

Certain moral disciplines are required of the Yogi
before he can undertake its practice. Patanjali hsts
five: Non-violence (Ahimsa), Truthfulness (Satya),
Non-stealing (Asteya), Chastity (Brahmacharya), and
Non-receiving (Aparigrapha).
NON-VIOLENCE (AHIMSA) was the favourite precept
of Mahatma Gandhi. Of it he said: “Aliimsa is not
merely a negative state of harmlessness but it is a
positive state of love, of doing good even to the evil-
doer. But it does not mean meek submission to the
will of the evil-doer: it means the putting of one’s

whole soul against his will. Working under this law

of our being, it is possible for a single individual to
defy the whole might of an unjust empire, to save his
honour, his rehgion, his soul, and lay the foundation
for that empire’s fall or its regeneration.
“Non-violence in its dynamic condition means
conscious suffering.”
Wild animals become tame and are said to hck the
hand of the Yogi secure in Ahimsa. Patanjah says:
“Near him in whom non-violence has fully taken root,
all beings renounce enmity.”
TRUTHFULNESS (SATYA). The Yogi earnestly seeks
Truth and must speak it always.
NON-STEALING (ASTEYA). This includes non-covet-
CHASTITY (BRAHMACHARYA). Includes not only
refraining from sexual intercourse, but not thinking
sex, not praising it, not joking about it, not looking
with desire and not conversing in private. The Yogi
Hving a chaste Hfe is able to transmute his sexual
energy into spiritual energy, stored in the brain and
called Ojas Shakti. Brahmacharya is made easy by
eating moderately, eating only natural, pure (Sattwic)
foods, and by thought control.
man who receives gifts is acted on by the mind of the
giver, so the receiver is likely to become degenerated.
Receiving gifts is prone to destroy the independence
of the mind, and make us slavish. Therefore, receive
no gifts.” (Vivekananda, Raja Yoga.)

The Five Observances (Niyamas)

The five observances or niyamas arc: PURITY

PURITY (SAUCHA). This means both external and

internal purity. The body should be kept clean always.
The Yogi must wash every day, practise the purifica-
tion processes and eat pure (Sattwic) foods. Inward
purity is achieved through mastering the mind,
concentrating it and meditating on the virtues.
CONTENTMENT (SANTOSHA) and peace of mind are
gained when body and mind are kept pure. The Yogi
should be cheerful, uncomplaining, free from desire
and satisfied with simple needs.
AUSTERITY (TAPA). With the observance of austerity
comes self-mastery and supra-natural powers (siddhis).
STUDY (SVADHYAYA). This includes the reading of
the Scriptures and spoken repetition of sacred mantras
and syllables Qapa). Inward mental repetition is
superior to the voiced Japa.
the constant thought of Divinity, identification
(samadhi) is reached.’' (Patanjah).
Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga consists of The Six Purification Prac-
tices (Shat Karma), the Postures (Asanas) and Breath
Control (Pranayama), which bring body and mind
into harmony and prepare the latter for the
concentrating and stilling techniques of Raja Yoga
(The Royal Path).
The Yoga Sanskrit texts refer to Hatha Yoga as the
ladder to Raja Yoga. The Goraksha Samhita says:
“The science of Hatha Yoga is the ladder up which
those climb who wish to reach the higher regions of
the Royal Path (Raja Yoga).’’
And the Siva Samhita says : “ The Hatha Yoga can-
not be obtained without the Raja Yoga, nor can the
Raja Yoga be attained without the Hatha Yoga.”
The word Hatha takes its meaning from the syllables
‘Ha’ (the sun) and ‘tha’ (the moon), just as Yoga itself
means union. Hatha Yoga is a union of sun and moon.
This is a symboHc term for the uniting of the positive
and negative energies of the body.
Alain Danielou, in his Yoga: The Method of i?e-
Integration, explains: “The cosmic Principles which, in
relation to the earth, manifest themselves in the plane-
tary world as the sun and the moon are found in every
aspect of existence. In man, they appear mainly under
two forms, one in the subtle body, the other in the
gross body. In the subtle body they appear as two
channels along which our perceptions channel be-
tween the subtle centre at the base of the spinal cord
and the centre at the summit of the head. These two
channels are called Ida and Pingala. Ida, situated on
the left side, corresponds to the cold aspect or the moon
and Pingala, on the right side, to the warm aspect or
the sun.
“In the gross body, the lunar and solar principles
correspond to the respiratory, cool and the digestive,
warm, vital energies, and are called Prana and Apana.
It is by co-ordinating these two most powerful vital
impulses that the yogi achieves his aim/’

Harmonious Health
There can be httle need for me to stress the value of
sound health. Numerous great minds have done so
before me. For instance, Ariphon, the Sicyonian, said:
“Without health, life is not hfe; hfe is hfeless.” And
Emerson said: “The first wealth is health.”
The Yogis beHeve that sound health can be claimed
by all men and women. Nature provides an illimit-
able fund of energy available to all living things. The
fact that man disregards Nature’s laws with such
recklessness and still manages to exist shows the power
of this hfe force. He may abuse it, mock it, turn his
back on it, but it goes on fighting for him. How often
have cases been given up as lost by the doctors, only to
see hfe hold on by a tenuous thread and finally
It is this same Hfe force—the Yogis call it Prana—
that brings the tree to bloom, the blossom to fruit,
that energizes the leaping lamb, that propels the
gazelle. Each of us has a share in an ocean of energy.
Vivekananda puts it: “In an ocean there are huge
waves, then smaller waves, and still smaller, down to
little bubbles; but back of all these is the infinite ocean.
The bubble is connected with the infinite ocean at
one end, and the huge wave at the other end. So. one
may be a gigantic man, and another a little bubble;
but each is connected with that infinite ocean of
energy wliich is the common birthright of every
animal that exists. Wherever there is hfe, the store-
house of infinite energy is behind it.’’
If instead of battling against Nature man invoked
her aid his achievements would be infinite.

The Perfect Home Exercise System

Of all home exercise systems Hatha Yoga is the
most perfect.
It does not require any apparatus, and can be per-
formed in a small space.
It does not demand a great expenditure of energy;
it therefore suits people of all ages, and is ideal for the
exhausting times in which we Hve.
With its gentle, refreshing nature Hatha Yoga has
none of the drawbacks of more strenuous systems,
which accumulate fatigue poisons in the muscles.
While those who practise the Asanas regularly find
their bodies becoming shapeHer and their muscles
firmer and stronger. Hatha Yoga aims primarily at
organic health and not mere muscular development.
Actually Yoga Asanas are postures to be held and not
exercises in the normal meaning of the word. And
their stretcliing action has a relaxing effect; a valuable
asset in an age of stress.
Almost all the Asanas have a stretching action on
the spine, which houses and protects the vital nerve
channels. Bodily efficiency depends on each of the
billions of cells making up our bodies playing its full
part in the community ... in a word, on harmony.
This harmony depends more than anything else on
the work of the nervous system. With the brain as the
co-ordinating centre, messages pour in by means of
billions of nerve fibres. Messages received by the
senses are flashed to the brain where they are stored
or computed and an immediate answer given. There
are cells carrying nourishment, cells busy with the
task of removing waste products, cells carrying mes-
sages. The nervous system is the telephone service of
the cell community. Its telephone network reaches
every part of our bodies.
The fine nerves coming from the sense organs group
together into cables on the way to the brain exchange,
the biggest cable being the spinal cord which is
located in and protected by the spinal column. The
importance of keeping the spine flexible and in healthy
condition is obvious.
One set of nerves—^the sensory—make their way
with their messages to the brain, and another reaches
out with the reply from the brain—the motor nerves.
The brain has its own centre for distributing the work.
The centre dealing with sight, for example, is to the
rear of the cerebrum, the centre for hearing just below
the Fissure of Sylvius, and so on.
There is a second nervous system, partly connected
with the central nervous system and partly independ-
ent. This is the autonomic nervous system. It has nerve
centres, called ganglia, located alongside the spinal
cord. There are also gangUa in the head, the stomach,
and other places. A blow in the region of the stomach
gangha knocks the wind out of you and you are
breathless. The autonomic nervous system controls
the working of the glands, the heart (the beating of the
heart depends on a gangUon located there), and it is
also closely connected with the feelings, as manifested
in blushing, crying, etc. Some Yogis develop self-
mastery to such a degree that they can influence the
working of the autonomic nervous system.
Living depends on a constant reaction and adjust-
ment to our environment. Without the complex
nervous system this would be impossible. The ancient
Yogis, in devising their disciplines, gave primary
consideration to the maintenance of a healthy and
efficient nervous system.
Hatha Yoga promotes the harmonious health
of the internal organs and glands, the principal
endocrine glands all being acted upon by the various
Of these glands, George A. Dorsey, in his book
Why We Behave Like Human Beings, says: “The
secretions of the ductless glands are discharged direct
into the blood, hence they are also called glands of
internal secretion or endocrines (endon, within;
krino, I separate). Endocrine secretions are chemical
in nature and are usually called hormones (exciters).
They are also called autacoid substances: from acos,
a remedy—they act like drugs. They are, in fact
drugs, some of them of astounding potency. In fact,
no man-made drugs are so powerful as some we make
in our own drug-store glands.”

The work of the endocrine glands has a direct
bearing on vitality and longevity. Hatha Yoga is the
system par excellence of rejuvenation. Daily Yoga
exercise not only wards off stifSiess of the muscles and
joints, one of the troubles of old age, but it also slows
down the whole physiological ageing process. Biologi-
cal and chronological time are two different things, the
former varying with each individual. We age at
different speeds. One man is a spent force at sixty,
while another is comparatively fresh.
In Man the Unknown, Alexis Carrel writes:
“Inward time cannot be properly measured in
units of solar time. However, it is generally expressed
in days and years because these units are convenient
and appHcable to the classification of terrestrial events.
But such a procedure gives no information about the
rhythm of the inner processes constituting our intrin-
sic time. Obviously, chronological age does not
correspond to physiological age. Puberty occurs at
different epochs in different individuals. It is the same
with menopause. True age is an organic and func-
tional state. It has to be measured by the rhythm of
the changes of this state. Such rhythm varies according
to individuals. Some remain young for many years.
On the contrary, the organs of others wear out early
in hfe. The value of physical time in a Norwegian,
whose life is long, is far from being identical with
that in an Eskimo, whose Hfe is short. To estimate true,
or physiological, age, we must discover, either in the
tissues or in the humours, a measurable phenomenon,
which progresses without interruption during the
whole hfe-time.’’
Of equal importance with the benefits to bodily
health and efficiency that come from Hatha Yoga
practice is the calming and integrating influence on the
personahty. For Hatha Yoga is a system of bodily
purification, leading naturally to Raja Yoga, which is
a technique of self-development and conscious
Tranquilhty of mind is of as much importance as
bodily care if you wish to live a long and active Hfe.
Looking over some cuttings from my files under the
heading “Longevity”, I notice a frequently occurring
answer to the reporter’s inevitable question to the
centenarian: “To what do you attribute your long
life?” The most frequently given reply is “freedom
from worry” ... in other words, peace of mind.
Worry is a great killer. Dr. Kenneth Walker has
written that it kills more people than cancer. So, too,
does boredom. Old people should have as many
interests as possible. Retirement should be taken as
an opportunity, not for idleness, but for creative
Great ages are reached in the Yoga ashrams of the
East, where lives of self-mastery and tranquillity are
hved. Exact figures are difficult to obtain, but claims of
Up to two hundred years are made. In China, where
meditation is an ancient art, the Taoists Hved such long
hves that the Emperor Ch-Hoang-Ti (221-209 B.C.)
thought they must have a secret elixir and sent for it.
The influence of the emotions on health is now
well-known to medical science. Emotional stress or
conflict can cause not only minor ailments, but serious
diseases. Hatha Yoga purifies the body. Raja Yoga
purifies the mind and achieves emotional mastery.
The renowned Hungarian neuropathist. Dr. Francis
Volgyesi, once said: “Yoga is actually the primitive
ancestor, thousands of years old, of the brand-new
science that we call psycho-therapy.’’
To achieve that harmony with nature that is perfect
health, the Hatha Yoga in India goes through a rigor-
ous programme. He devotes his life to it, performmg
many of the exercises for hours daily. This arduous
practice gives him a control over body and mind that
is extraordinary. (For a fascinating account of what
it is like to undergo full training under a guru (Yoga
master) see Theos Bernard’s works Hatha Yoga and
Heaven Lies Within Us,)
It is doubtful whether there would be many readers
willing to imdertake such a programme even if they
had the time to spare. However, in a later chapter will
be shown how fifteen to thirty minutes daily can be
utilized for a Yoga programme of immense benefit
to bodily and mental health.
In Chapter IV are given the best known of the Yoga
exercises. Scientific tests have been made with regard
to the effects of these exercises and results show
beyond a doubt that they promote health to a won-
derful degree.
Some of the postures are highly contorting but
have been included as they are likely to be of interest
to gymnasts and advanced students; and while some
of the hygienic practices are unsuited to our civihzed
way of living, they have been described to show what
an amazing understanding of and control over the
human body the Yogi possesses.


The Six Purification Practices

The ancient Yogis were thorough in the matter of
personal hygiene and they developed certain practices
to rid the body of impurities. These show an under-
standing and control of the human body unknown in
the West.
The six main purification practices of Yoga are:
Nevertheless, be warned. Though described here as
likely to be of interest, it must be pointed out that
Dhauti, Basti, Neti and Trataka could be dangerous
to bodily health imless practised under a Yoga expert.
In DHAUTI a long strip of cloth—surgical gauze
three to four inches in width will do—is swallowed
and allowed to rest in the stomach for some time before
pulling it out. The cloth may be soaked in warm
water or milk before being ‘eaten’ bit by bit. Swallow-
ing only two or three feet at first, it is possible when
the lining of the throat becomes accustomed to the
practice to take in fifteen feet or more. At first there
is a desire to vomit but this passes. Several weeks of
practice may be necessary before success is achieved.
The cloth is allowed to remain in the stomach for
ten to fifteen minutes before being pulled out. If it
remains longer than twenty minutes it will commence
to pass through the body.
Dhauti removes phlegm, bile and other impurities
from the stomach and is said to cure many diseases.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, one of the best known
Yoga source books, says: “there is no doubt that
cough, asthma, enlargement of the spleen, leprosy,
and twenty kinds of diseases bom of phlegm disappear
by the practice of Dhauti Karma.”
An alternative with similar benefits is to drink
several glasses of warm water and salt until you vomit
and empty the stomach (vamana dhauti).
By controlling the sphincters of the anus and per-
forming nauli which creates a vacuum in the rectum
water can be taken into the colon. The ancient Yogis
performed this practice squatting in lakes or pools
of water. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika recommends the
use of a pipe, six inches long, half an inch wide, half
inserted into the anus, while squatting in navel-deep
water. But adepts may dispense with any aids what-
ever, relying on a powerful muscular control of the
isolated abdominal recti muscles (nauU, to be de-
scribed later) and the anal sphincters. The two recti-
muscles are alternately relaxed and contracted in a
churning action that assists thorough washing of the
Modem colon irrigators make the practice of BASTI
unnecessary,* but it does show the extent to which
the Yogi understands his body and has control over it.
NETI is a practice for cleaning the head sinuses. A

piece of soft cord or warm water may be used. If

the former, the cord is passed through one nostril
and out of the mouth. The cord is slowly drawn back
and forth for a time, then repeated through the other
nostril. An alternative is to sniff water through the
nostrils and expel it from the mouth (vyut-krama).
It is possible to reverse this process and take the water
through the mouth and expel it from the nostrils (sit-
krama). An unpleasant sensation is experienced at
first but passes away if the cleansing exercise is per-
sisted in.
The Gheranda Samhita claims that “by this practice
of Yoga one becomes like the god Cupid. Old age
never comes to him and decrepitude never disfigures
him. The body becomes healthy, elastic, and disorders
due to phlegm are destroyed.’’
TRATAKA consists of staring without blinking at a

candle flame or other mildly bright object. The Yogi

continues until the eyes tire and begin to water, then
ends the exercise and washes the eyes with cold water.
The source books claim that this practice strengthens
the eyes, can induce clairvoyance, and “should be
kept secret very carefully, like a box of jewellery.”
In my ’teens I was a member of a body^building
gymnasium and as well as developing my muscles
* The natural Yoga method, however, is said to result in a more
complete cleansing.

I leamt something of the technique of muscle control.

One of the more sensational controls was to retract
the muscles of the abdominal area and then isolate
the two recti muscles. I practised every morning
and evening in front of a bedroom mirror until I had
mastered the control. To me at the time it was just a
trick. A year or two later I discovered that what I was
doing was the centuries old Yoga practice of NAULI.
Nauli cannot be performed until the
first stage, UDDIYANA, has been perfected.
Though it is described here, Uddiyana
can be counted as one of the physical
exercises (Asanas). Stand with feet apart
and knees slightly bent. Lean forward,
arching the back a little, and place your
hands on your thighs Just above the
knees. Exhale all possible air from the
lungs (it is important that this exhalation
should be complete). Now pull your
abdominal muscles upwards and back-
wards towards the spine. Concentrate on your solar-
plexus and pull it as far into your thoracic cavity as
possible. Hold for a couple of seconds then relax the
muscles and let them return to their original position.
Perform several times on one exhalation. As the muscles
become stronger and more accustomed to the exercise
you should be able to perform ten to twenty repeti-
tions to one exhalation. This is called a round and a
rest can be taken before another roimd. One to three
rounds will be enough for most readers, but the
Indian Yogi thinks nothing of doing a thousand or
more repetitions.
Once Uddiyana has been mastered
NAULI can then be attempted. Having
exlialed and performed a full re-
traction, use pressure from your hands
on your thighs to assist in isolating the
two central recti abdominal muscles
which will sit out in a thin wedge.
Later you may be able to isolate each
of the recti muscles separately. By
alternately relaxing and contracting
the right and left recti the abdominal
muscles can be made to roll from side
to side in a wave-like motion.
These controls are well worth mastering. Do not
worry if the second stage does not come easily to you.
Concentrate on performing uddiyana correctly and
the control of the recti will come later. Take it easy
at first and avoid strain. Practise before a mirror.
We have already seen the hygienic purpose behind
nauli, but uddiyana and nauH are highly valuable
exercises in themselves, being the finest known for
promoting and maintaining the health and vigour of
the abdominal region. Those who practice them arc
unlikely to suffer from constipation, indigestion,
obesity, and diseases of the stomach.
KAPALABHATI is a breathing exercise for purifying
the nerve channels (nadis) and will be described in a
later chapter.
Oral Hygiene
As well as performing the six cleansing exercises
the Yogi gives attention to the cleanliness of his mouth.
He rinses his mouth with water and cleans the root
of his tongue and his gums by massaging them with
the tips of the first and second fingers of one hand.
The teeth should be kept clean and periodically
examined by a dentist.

It should be obvious that if you are not to jeopardize
the vitaUty that Yoga promotes you must give atten-
tion to how and what you eat.
Here, moderation is the rule. The Yogi is advised
at a main meal to fill half his stomach with food, one
quarter with water, and keep one quarter empty.
What this means is that at any meal you should eat
enough to satisfy your hunger, but not so much as
to give a gorged feeling.

Recommended Foods
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika lists the following foods
as being “very beneficial to those who practise Yoga”:
wheat, rice, barley, good corns, milk, ghee, sugar,
butter, sugar candy, honey, dried ginger, tonics, some
vegetables, pure water.
And the Gheranda Samhita advises: rice, barley or
wheaten bread, Mudga and Masa beans, jack-fruit,
the jujube, the bonduc nut, cucumber, plantain, fig,
green, fresh vegetables, black vegetables, patola leaves.
Injurious Foods
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika says that the following
foods are harmful to a Yogi: rape seed, intoxicating
hquors, oil cake, garhc, onion, plums, fish, meat,
curds. It also advises against foods too bitter, salty,
hot, fermented, or which have had to be heated again.
The Gheranda Samhita prohibits, at least in the
beginning of Yoga practice, all bitter, acid, salt,
pungent and roasted things, curd, whey, heavy vege-
tables, wine, palm nuts, over-ripe jack-fruit, pump-
kins, gourds, berries and onions.

Some Simple Rules

The above advice from the Sanskrit texts is given
as a matter of interest, but was of course meant for
the Indian Yogi Hving a hfe of austerity and self-
discipline. The following simple dietary rules are
recommended to Western readers who wish to achieve
sound health and obtain the best results from their
Yoga practice.
(a). Keep your diet as natural as possible. To titillate
the palate many of our foods are refined and chemic-
ally treated to a point where valuable nutrients are
lost. Eat plenty of green vegetables and fresh fruit,
cutting down on the starchy carbohydrates which
overburden the Western diet. Vegetables and fruit
keep bloodstream and skin healthy. Vitamin A, which
improves vision and resistance to disease, is found in
green vegetables, the best sources being watercress.
spinach, cabbage and peas. Fresh fruits are the best
sources of vitamin C, which keeps gums and teeth
healthy, aids the healing of wounds, and protects us
from the disease scurvy. Green vegetables also are
rich in vitamin C.
(b) . Eat brown wholemeal bread in preference to
white. The beneficial nutrients of wheat are mostly
lost in the process of refining.
(c) . Drink plenty of milk. It is a rich source of
calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and vita-
mins A and D. Vitamin D maintains the health of the
bones and teeth, and protects us from rickets and
(d) . Eat plenty of cheese. It supphes body-building
protein to the diet, and is a rich source of vitamin A,
Bi (Riboflavin), niacin (nicotinic acid) and vitamin D.
Vitamin Bi supplies energy and keeps complexion,
eyes and nerve-tissues healthy. It is also found in
yeast, milk, yoghourt, eggs and brown bread.
Niacin is needed for efficient working of the heart,
nerves, muscles and digestive system. It also protects
us from pellagra.
(e) . Masticate your food thoroughly. Yogis attach
great importance to this—indeed they consider how
to eat to be of almost as much importance as what to
eat. Sohd foods should be broken down and reduced
to a liquid before passing into the stomach. This initial
breaking down takes place in the mouth through
chewing and the action of the sahva. Mastication is a
necessary part of the digestive processes and should
not be hurried or neglected.
(f) . Do not eat when excited or emotionally upset.
Emotional excitement impedes the flow of gastric
juices in the stomach, resulting in indigestion. Other
causes are lack of exercise, overeating, anxiety, and
too much of the wrong foods—spices, pastries and
fries. People with sedentary occupations are prone to
stomach troubles. They should get as much fresh
air and exercise as possible in their leisure time.
(g) . Include some roughage in your diet. This pre-
vents constipation. Foods containing a high percentage
of roughage are brown bread, fresh and dried fruits,
onions, cabbage, lettuce, spinach and cereals. Lack of
exercise causes constipation—you will have Uttle
trouble in this respect if you regularly perform the
Yoga Asanas.
(h) . Do not overeat. Give your digestive processes
a chance to do their work. Leave a quarter of your
stomach free. A meal should be of sufficient bulk to
satisfy hunger, but not to over-tax the digestive and
ehminative organs. If you masticate properly you will
obtain more nourishment from less food than you are
used to now. Overeating is the principal cause of
obesity. The overweight are prone to many com-
plaints and diseases, diseases of the liver, kidneys and
heart, diabetes, gout, high blood-pressure, digestive
disorders. If you are overweight, cut down drastically
on the carbohydrate foods: bread, pastry, flour, cakes,
sweets, potatoes, etc. In their place substitute cheese,
eggs, fruit, vegetables, nuts and yoghourt. The
Yoga Asanas and breathing exercises are excellent
for normalizing the figure.
(i). Drink plenty of water and fruit juices between


Yogic physical exercises—actually they are postures

to be held for a certain length of time without repeti-
tions—are unrivalled as a means of improving bodily
health and suppleness. Their superiority over other
systems—calhsthenics, weight-hfting, gymnastics, etc.
—lies in the fact that they aim at promoting the health
and efficiency of the vital internal organs. In devising
these postures the ancient Yogis displayed once again
their profound knowledge of the human body. In
particular, they bore in mind the need for keeping the
spine, nerves and glands in healthy condition, thus
giving organic vigour to the whole body.
Use commonsense when first attempting these
postures. If you doubt the suitabiHty of any of them
consult your doctor. A person with high blood-pres-
sure or heart ailment should leave out the Head Stand.
Women should not do Yoga exercise during preg-
nancy or the menstrual periods. If, however, you are
of normal health and suppleness you can attempt
all the asanas right away, provided you are careful
not to over-strain your body. Be content to progress
There are a number of Yoga postures which are
extremely contorting; these arc given under the
heading of “Advanced Postures”. Correct perform-
ance of even the simplest poses will not be easy at first,
however, especially if you have not led an athletic
life or are carrying considerable surplus fat. Remember
that the attempt is doing you good; and if you are
inclined to be obese Yoga will soon normahze your
Perform several of these postures daily. You will
soon come to like them and will not wish to miss
your daily session.

The Shoulder Stand Posture (Sarvangasana)

Most readers will be farnihar with the ‘bicycle’
exercise, a favourite of athletes and sportsmen, in
which you lie on your back and, supporting your hips
with your hands, perform a pedalling action with
your feet. The Shoulder Stand Posture is somewhat
similar, but the legs are kept straight and the pose held.
Lie on your back on the floor. A rug or folded
blanket can be used for comfort. The
arms are kept alongside the body with
the palms of the hands flat on the
Keeping your legs together, raise
them slowly until they are at right
angles to the floor. The movement is
continued by raising legs, hips and
trunk into a vertical position. Place
your hands on your hips and support
the posture with the upper arms and elbows. Legs and
back should be vertical and only the head, upper back
and upper arms and elbows should be touching the
ground. The upper chest will press against your chin.
In this position try as if to touch the ceiling with your
The position should be held for as long as you can
do it comfortably, working up to several minutes
with practice. Those of my readers who are athletic
may like to dispense with the arm support after a
Sarvangasana has a beneficial effect on the endocrine
glands, especially the thyroid.
It tones up the whole nervous system.
It stretches the muscles of the legs, back, abdomen
and neck.
It stretches the spine.
It improves circulation and sends a rich flow of
blood to the spine and brain.
It reduces excess fat.
It is a wonderful rejuvenator.

The Plough Posture (Halasana)

If in the Shoulder Stand Pose you swing over your
feet and legs until your toes touch the ground behind
your head you will be in the Plough Posture, one of
the finest of the Yoga asanas. It received its name
because of a resemblance to the shape of an Indian
Keep your arms stiff with the palms of your hands
pressed against the ground. Your legs should be
together and locked at the knees. When your toes
touch the ground, attempt to push them as far as
possible towards the wall behind your head.
You will not find this posture easy to attain, but
keep trying. At first you will only be able to hold the
position for a few seconds, but eventually you should
manage thirty seconds or more.

Halasana promotes suppleness of the spine and helps
maintain its natural curve.
It tones up the nervous system.
It stretches and makes more supple almost all the
body muscles.
It exercises the abdomen and prevents disorders of
the stomach.
It improves the circulation and sends a rich flow of
blood to the spine.
It is one of the best movements for normahzing the
obese figure and it rejuvenates the whole body.

The Inverted Body Posture (Sirsasana)

This is the Yoga “Head Stand’’.
If you wish, you can perform this pose against a
wall or locked door, using a soft cushion to protect
your head. The adept will spurn
such aids, but it is a great help to the
beginner to have the fear of over-
balancing removed. Part of the pres-
sure on the head can be shared by the
Thirty seconds should be long enough
to hold the pose at first, until the body
gets used to the inverted position. Each
day you can add one or two seconds,
until you can comfortably perform for
several minutes. Progress gradually, end-
ing the posture if you begin to feel too much strain.
You will probably feel a slight giddiness on returning
to the perpendicular, but this quickly passes. A simple
and non-strenuous way of receiving most of the
benefits of Sirsasana is to use a Slant Board. Relax for
a few minutes on a board slanted so as to have your
feet higher than your head.


Sirsasana sends a rich flow of refreshing blood to the

It relaxes body and mind.
It improves concentration.
It keeps you youthful. Yogis claim that it banishes
wrinkles and grey hair.
It normalizes your weight.
It improves body metabolism.
The Bow Posture (Dhanurasana)
Lie flat on your stomach. Stretch your arms back
and, raising your heels, grasp both ankles. Pulling with
your arms, hft the legs as high as possible at the same
time arching the front part of the body. It is as if you
were trying to touch the back of your head with the
soles of your feet.
This pose is difficult and at first you will probably
have to keep your legs a little apart. Later you should
be able to keep your legs together throughout.

Dhanurasana stretches and makes the spine more
It tones up the nervous system.
It stretches the muscles of the abdomen, back, legs,
arms and neck.
It improves the efficiency of the Uver, kidneys and
It improves the digestion.
It is one of the finest correctives for bad posture.

The Cobra Posture (Bhujangasana)

Lie face downwards, the palms of the hands resting
on the ground level with the shoulders. Your forehead
should also be touching the ground and your legs arc
kept stiff and together throughout the movement.
Slowly raise your head upwards and backwards.
Face, neck and trunk will follow gradually. In the
final position, which should be held, your arms will
be straight and your head thrown back so that the
eyes look at an angle towards the ceiling. In this pose
the reason for the name ‘Cobra’ is obvious.
The important thing in performing the exercise is
to put as much work as possible on to the spine. Of
course you will find that you have to use your arms
to assist. Indeed at first they will be doing most of the
work. With practice it is possible for some people to
dispense altogether with the aid of the arms.
Remember that the movement should be a slow,
smooth one. There must be no jerking or straining.

Bhujangasana strengthens and promotes the health

and suppleness of the spine.
It improves the efficiency of the nervous system.
It stretches the muscles of the abdomen, back, arms
and ueck.
It improves body metabolism.
It corrects bad posture.

The Posterior Stretch Posture

This is similar to the well-known ‘sit-up’ exercise.
You will find that a large number of the exercises
popular with physical-culturists in the West are taken
from Yoga. Paschimatanasana differs from an ordinary
sit-up in that the movement is continued until the
face comes close to the knees and this position is then
held. Many Yogis acquire such suppleness that they
can actually rest their faces on their knees.
Lie flat on your back, legs
outstretched and together. Sit
up slowly and smoothly keep-
ing the legs steady. Only the
upper body moves. Exhale
and carry the movement on in an effort to touch your
knees with your face. At the same time stretch your
arms forward and catch your toes (or your ankles if
you are not very supple). Hold the position for several
seconds, adding seconds as the position becomes more
Paschimatanasana works the spine in an opposite
direction from that of bhujangasana and has similar
results in promoting its health, strength and suppleness.
It stretches the muscles of the back, abdomen, arms
and legs.
It aids digestion.
It removes surplus fat.
It is claimed in a Yoga source book that this asana
“kindles gastric fire, reduces obesity and cures all
diseases of men.’’

Standing Posterior Stretch (Padhahasthasana)

This is, as its name indicates, the posterior stretch
performed in a standing position. The ‘toes touch’
we were taught as children has been taken from this
asana. It differs in that you do not perform repetitions,
but hold the pose for as many seconds as is comfort-
able. Again the face can be brought right down to the
As for Paschimatanasana.

The Locust Posture (Salabhasana)
Lie full length, face downwards on floor. The arms

rest alongside the body with the knuckles down. The

soles of the feet are upturned. Pressing with the arms
and using the lower back muscles, raise the legs to-
wards the ceiling. Hold for a few seconds. This is a
vigorous exercise, benefiting the abdomen and lower
back. The action resembles that of the locust.

The Peacock Posture (Mayurasana)

This is another vigorous exercise that will appeal to
gymnasts. Commence from a kneeling position with
knees spread apart. Place palms of hands together on
the floor with fingers pointing towards your feet.
The wrists should be touching. Lean forward on the
hands with the elbows resting against the stomach.
Now bring body weight forward and straighten legs
until the body balances in a straight line on the hands
and elbows. Hold for a few seconds. The abdominal
area greatly benefits and is strengthened by this

exercise. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika says of it : ‘‘This

asana soon destroys all diseases and removes abdominal
disorders, and also those arising from irregularities of
phlegm, bile and wind, digests unwholesome food
taken in excess, increases appetite and destroys the
most deadly poison.*'
The Twist Posture (Ardha-Matsyendrasana)
Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched. Bend
the left leg and place its heel into the crutch as in the
first stage of Siddhasana. But this time the right foot
is brought right across the left leg and placed on the
floor outside it. The left hand grasps the toes of the
right foot from outside the right knee. Trunk and head
are twisted right round to do this, and the free right
arm is bent across the lower back with palm outwards.
This works the spine from a new angle, since it is
twisted laterally.
Hold the pose for a few seconds at first, increasing
to one to two minutes. Perform the twist to the other
side to complete the exercise.
Patience and perseverence
bring success in this posture
but those who find it impossible
can achieve a similar effect by
sitting on a chair, twisting
round and grasping the ends of
the chair back with both hands.
Keep legs and hips steady. Twist head and trunk
right round as far as they will comfortably go.
Ardha-Matsyendrasana has a beneficial effect on the
nervous system and on stomach, kidneys, liver, etc.

The Adamant Posture (Vajrasana)

Kneel with knees together and buttocks resting on
your feet, the soles of which are turned uppermost.
Rest the palms of your hands on their corresponding
knees. The head is held erect and the back straight.
This should not present any great difhculty, but this
pose is the starting position for the advanced exercise
of supta-vajrasana.

The Pelvic Posture (Supta-Vajrasana)

From the vajrasana posture slowly bend backwards,
keeping the legs steady. Arms and elbows will have
to be employed as an aid for most people. Lower the
shoulders until they rest firmly on the floor. The
arms may then be stretched full length beyond the
head, palms up.
Hold for thirty seconds adding fifteen seconds each
week until you can rest comfortably in this posture
for two minutes.
Supta-Vajrasana has a beneficial stretching action on
thighs and stomach. It prevents constipation and aids
digestion. It enlarges the rib-box, and removes surplus

The Fish Posture (Matsyasana)

First take up the Lotus Posture (page 73) then lean
back until the body is supported by the top of the
head and grasp your feet with your hands. The back
should be fully arched and chest thrown out. In this
posture you can float easily on the sea. Physical-cul-
turists will recognize its similarity to the ‘Wrestler’s
Bridge’. The neck, brain, chest, spine and stomach
all benefit.

The Adept Posture (Baddha Padmasana)

Sit in the Lotus Pose, cross arms behind your back
and grasp toes. This means that you grasp your right
foot with your right hand and your left foot with
your left hand.

The Cock Posture

In Padmasana, your feet cross-
ed on to your thighs, thrust your
hands between knees and thighs
and stand on your hands. This
is a spectacular pose.

The Tortoise Posture (Uttanakurmakasana)

From Padmasana, thrust hands between thighs and
calves as in The Cock Posture, but instead of standing
on your hands this time you grasp your neck and sit
balanced on your buttocks and lower back.

Symbol of Yoga (Yoga Mudra)

From the seated Padmasana position, lean forward
and try to touch the floor in front of you with your
forehead. The arms are placed behind the back with
one hand grasping the opposite wrist.
This posture benefits the abdomen and internal
organs, as well as preventing constipation, stomach
disorders and obesity.

The Mountain Posture (Parbatasana)

Seated in one of the meditative postures, stretch
both arms towards the ceiling and bring the palms
and fingers of your hands together directly above your
head as in the attitude of prayer. Now stretch your
finger-tips towards the ceiling as far as they will com-
fortably go. This pose resembles a moimtain (parbat).
The posture may be accompanied by deep breathing.
Inhale and exhale slowly and evenly 5-10 times.
The stretching action benefits the trunk and ab-
dominal muscles, strengthens the spine, tones up the
nervous system, improves digestion, removes consti-
pation. The breathing action strengthens the lungs
and purifies the bloodstream.

The Wheel Posture (Chakrasana)

Lie flat on your back on the floor. Bending your
knees, draw your heels in against your buttocks. At
the same time bend your arms at the elbows and place
the palms of your hands on the floor on either side
of your head, with the fingers pointing back towards
the heels. To do this you will probably have to raise
your buttocks a little. Distribute your body weight on
the soles of your feet and palms of your hands. Now
raise your trunk upwards until feet and hands take the
full strain and the back is fully arched. “The Wheel”
will not be unfamihar to keen gymnasts. It is a very
strenuous exercise and should only be attempted by
advanced students.
Chakrasana has a beneficial effect on the whole
spinal column, strengthens the nervous system,
prevents and cures abdominal disorders, and reduces
surplus fat.

The Triangle Posture (Trikonasana)

Stand upright with feet widely spaced. Extend both
arms in a line with the shoulders. This is the starting
position. Bend slowly to the right until you touch
your right foot with your right hand. To do this you
will have to bend your right knee a httle. Only the
right leg bends, the left stays outstretched to maintain
balance. The outstretched left arm points upwards
at an angle roughly parallel with the angle of the left
leg. Return to the starting position, pause a few
seconds, then perform the movement to the left.
Perform several repetitions to each side.
The spine, nervous system and abdomen all benefit
from Trikonasana. It also keeps the figure slim and

The Knee and Head Posture (Janusirasana)

This is a one-legged Paschimatana. Sit on the floor
with your legs together and outstretched. Bending the
left leg at the knee, bring the left heel into the crotch,
as for Siddhasana. The right leg is kept fully stretched.
Exhale, lean forward and grasp your right foot with
both hands. Lower your head between your arms and
attempt to touch your right knee with your head.
Hold for several seconds, then sit up again and per-
form the exercise with your left leg.
Janusirasana strengthens abdomen, spine and legs.
It makes the spine more supple and benefits the spinal
nerves. It normahzes the figure.
The Scorpion Posture (Vrischikasana)
A very advanced exercise indeed, similar to the
gymnastic ‘ Tiger Bend’. With forearms resting
shoulder width on the floor, the Yogi raises his body
and legs into an inverted position, then slowly lowers
liis feet until they rest on the top of his head. It would
be dangerous for beginners or the unathletic to attempt
this pose.
Vrischikasana benefits the whole body, strengthens
the spinal nerves, makes the spine more supple, and
removes surplus fat.
8,400,000 Asanas
In the Gheranda Samhita we read that “there are
eighty-four hundreds of thousands of Asanas described
by Siva. The postures are as many in number as there
are living creatures in this universe.”
The best of these, and those most suitable to the
Occident, have been described in this chapter. Their
practice will rejuvenate the body, reduce obesity,
strengthen the muscles, make the spine and body
more supple and elastic, tone up the nervous system,
keep diseases at bay, prevent constipation and dys-
pepsia, keep the skin glowing and healthy and promote
mental alertness and serenity.

Therapeutic Powers of the Asanas

Definite therapeutic powers are claimed for the
Asanas, and the work of such institutions as the Yoga
Research Laboratory at Lonavla, under the director-
ship of Srimat Kuvalayananda, has done much to put
these claims on a scientific basis. The following are a
Hst of common disorders and the Asanas best used for
their rehef or cure as given by Yoga experts.
ASTHMA : Matsyasana, Parbatasana, Salabhasana,
Sarvangasana, Savasana.
BRONCHITIS: Matsyasana, Parbatasana, Salabhasana.
CONSTIPATION : Ardha-matsyendrasana, Halasana,
Janusirasana, Matsyasana, Nauli, Padhahastasana,
Paschimatanasana, Savasana, Trikonasana, Uddiyani,
Yoga Mudra.
DIABETES: Ardha-Matsyendrasana, Halasana, Mat-
syasana, Mayurasana, Parbatasana, Paschimatanasana,
Sarvangasana, Savasana, Yoga Mudra.
INDIGESTION: Ardha-Matsyendrasana, Bhujangasana,
Halasana, Mayurasana, NauH, Parbatasana, Paschim-
atanasana, Sarvangasana, Salabhasana, Savasana, Ud-
diyani, Yoga Mudra.
INSOMNIA: Bhujangasana, Halasana, Parbatasana,
Paschimatanasana, Sarvangasana, Salabhasana, Sav-
LUMBAGO : Halasana, Salabhasana, Savasana.
MENSTRUAL DISORDERS: Bhujangasana, Halasana,
Matsyasana, NauU, Padhahastasana, Paschimatanasana,
Sarvangasana, Uddiyani.
NEURASTHENIA : Parbatasana, Paschimatanasana, Sar-
vangasana, Sirsasana, Savasana.
OBESITY: Bhujangasana, Halasana, Paschimatanasana
Padhahastasana, Salabhasana, Uddiyani.
PILES: Halasana, Matsyasana, Sarvangasana.
RHEUMATISM: Ardha-Matsyendrasana, Janusirasana,
Parbatasana, Paschimatanasana, Sarvangasana.
SCIATICA: Janusirasana, Padhahastasana, Paschim-
atanasana, Sarvangasana.
SEXUAL DEBILITY: NauU, Sarvangasana, Uddiyani,
Yoga Mudra.
VARICOSE VEINS: Sarvangasana, Sirsasana.

The Meditative Postures

There are four more Asanas which cannot be
omitted from any work on Hatha Yoga. The first
three are the meditative postures Sukhasana, Siddh-
asana and Padmasana. The Yogis attach great im-
portance to these and they will be described in the
chapter on Yoga Breathing (Pranayama).
The other Asana is Savasana (The Corpse Posture).
The need for relaxation being so great in the West,
a separate chapter will be given to this subject.


Western civilized man lives at a pace that would

have left his forefathers breathless and bewildered.
His nervous system is subjected to almost constant
strain. Under the stress of such a way of life it is not
surprising that his health is usually below par and that
diseases and complaints resulting from tension have
become so prevalent. It has been estimated by various
authorities that at least fifty per cent of the people who
visit doctors’ consulting rooms suffer from neuras-
thenia rather than from any organic disorder.
One of the immediate benefits reported by people
taking up Yoga is that they feel more relaxed. This is
a natural result of sitting still in the asanas, of breath
control, thought control and meditation. Yoga
quickly calms the mind, relaxes the body.

The Corpse Posture

While all the eight limbs of Yoga have a relaxing
influence, the Yogi usually finishes his programme of
asanas with one especially designed to rest the body
and re-charge it with energy.
This is Savasana, or The Corpse Posture. It is of such
value in combating present-day stress and strain you
should perform it at any time you can during the
Lie flat on your back with legs outstretched. Close
your eyes and remain completely still, as if dead. This
means lying with your full weight. You must really
‘let go’.
You cannot expect to attain complete relaxation
at the first attempt. It is an art which has to be mastered
and this may take weeks, even months. But all the
time you wiU be benefiting.
At first you will find that an obstmate tension
remains and the body muscles refuse to relax. You
must mentally go over them from head to toe seeking
tension and removing it wherever it is found. Follow
a definite order in relaxing the various muscles and
muscle groups. This order is given below.

(1) . Scalp and forehead.

(2) . Eyes and eyeballs.
(3) . Jaw and mouth.
(4) . Throat.
(5) . Deltoids (Shoulders).
(6) . Pectorals (Breasts).
(7) . Biceps.
(8) . Abdominals.
(9) . Forearms.
(10) . Hands and fingers.
(11) . Extensors of the thighs (Front part of thighs).
(12) . Feet and toes.
(13) . Neck.
(14) . Trapezius (On top of back, below the neck.)
(15) . Latissimus dorsi (The two large wedge-shaped
muscles covering the shoulder-blades).
(16) . Triceps (Rear part of upper arms).
(17) . Buttocks.
(18) . Biceps of thighs (Rear parts of thighs).
(19) . Calves.

You will note that even the eyes, fingers and toes
are included. Every particle of tension must be
removed from the body.
Ability to relax comes quickly if you can ‘get the
feel’ of all nineteen muscles or muscle groups by
alternately tensing and relaxing them. In this way you
can talk to your muscles. Special muscle-control
exercises for achieving this are given in the author’s
The Art of Relaxed Living (Thorsons PubUshers Ltd.).
For this posture it is best to Ue on the floor on a
folded blanket. Collars, ties and other constricting
clothing should be removed. You cannot relax if you
feel uncomfortable in any way.
As you become more adept you will find that you
will be able to relax with a fair degree of success even
in a sitting position, something which you can utilize
in travelling by bus or train to and from your place of
There is no more efficacious way of combating
tension than to have a daily relaxation period or
periods. So from now on make it a rule to perform
The Corpse Posture (Savasana) at least once every day.


Pranayama—from prana (the life breath) and ayama

(pause)—is the Yoga science of breath control.
The ancient Yogis studied anatomy and explored
body and consciousness to learn their secrets. One of
the important things they discovered was the reci-
procal relationship between the emotions and breath-
ing. When we are excited our rate of respiration
becomes faster. When we are composed, our breathing
is slow, calm and rhythmical. The Yogi seeks by con-
trolled, measured breathing to influence consciousness
itself. By control of the breath the mind can be stilled
and made one-pointed. Pranayama is a means to
self-mastery and psychic powers.

It is necessary to point out that Prana, to the Yogi,
means much more than mere breath. Prana is actually
the power behind and within breath. The power of
the atom is Prana. Thought is Prana. It is “the vital
force in every being”. It is cosmic energy. It pervades
the whole universe. It is everywhere and through
Pranayama we can tap this ilhmitable well of universal
Vivekananda, in his Raja Yoga, says : “In this body
of ours the breath motion is the ‘silken thread’; by
laying hold of and learning to control it we grasp the
pack thread of the nerve currents, and from these the
stout twine of our thoughts, and lastly the rope of
Prana, controlling which we reach freedom.
“We do not know anything about our own bodies;
we cannot know. At best we can take a dead body, and
cut it in pieces, and there are some who can take a live
animal and cut it in pieces in order to see what is
inside the body. Still, that has nothing to do with our
ovm bodies. We know very little about them. Why
do we not? Because our attention is not discriminating
enough to catch the very fine movements that are
going on within. We can know of them only when
the mind becomes more subtle and enters, as it were,
deeper into the body. To get that subtle perception
we have to begin with the grosser perceptions. We
have to get hold of that which is setting the whole
engine in motion; that is the Prana, the most obvious
manifestation of which is the breath. Then along with
the breath, we shall slowly enter the body, which wdl
enable us to find out about the subtle forces, the nerve
currents that are moving aU over the body. As soon
as we perceive and learn to feel them, we shall begin
to get control over them, and over the body. The
rniud is also set in motion by these different nerve
currents, so at last we shall reach the state of perfect
control over the body and the mind, makiug both our
servants. Knowledge is power; we have to get this

power, so we must begin at the beginning, the

Pranayama, restraining the Prana.”

Breath is Life
To prepare the mind, for the meditative exercises
and disciplines, the Yogi seeks to control respiration,
the body’s key function and “the most obvious mani-
festation of Prana”. Life is impossible without air.
We can do without food and water for several days,
but totally check our air supply and we are dead in a
few minutes.
Our bodies need oxygen to burn up waste matter
and purify the bloodstream. Civihzed man has lost
the art of breathing properly. His shallow breathing
utihzes only about one-tenth of his lung capacity.
The lack of oxygen from which he inevitably suffers
is responsible for headaches, fatigue, lack of mental
alertness. It is a contributory cause of that ‘tired feeling’
so many people complain of today. (A yawn is Nature’s
way of enabling us to get more oxygen when there
is a lack of it.)
The Yoga breathing exercises, if performed sensibly
and without strain, can be a means to greater bodily
vitahty, and can exert a beneficial influence over the
emotions and the mind.

The Meditative Postures

For Pranayama and meditation the Yogis use
certain seated postures which keep the body compact
and perfectly steady. The three best known of these
are Sukhasana, the Easy Posture; Siddhasana, the
Perfect Posture; and Padmasana, the Lotus Posture.

The Perfect Posture (Sidhasana)

Bend the left leg and place the sole of the left foot
against the perineum (between anus and scrotum).
The right leg is brought across and the foot placed in
the crevice between the calf and thigh of the left leg
with the heel against the pubic bone.

The Lotus Posture (Padmasana)

Bending each leg at the knee, place each foot on
the opposite thigh, soles upwards. This posture is that
of the Yoga adept, and is obviously more difficult
than Sidhasana.

The Easy Posture (Sukhasana)

For most readers the Easy Posture will suffice. Sit
on the floor with both legs stretched before you.
Now bend one leg and place its foot imder the thigh
of the opposite leg. Then bend that leg and place it
under the other leg.
These seated postures are practised by the Oriental
from childhood and they are natural to him, but the
Occidental often finds that his joints are too stiff to
perform them at first. A lot will depend on age and
suppleness. Do not use force. If the knees obstinately
refuse to lower, leave it to time. Sitting on a thick
book enables the position to be adopted more readily.
The book can be dispensed with once proficiency has
been attained. The knees should be wide-spaced and
close to the ground. The head should be kept erect
and the back straight. Once this is achieved a feeling of
mastery and soHdity is experienced. It is a relaxing
and confident feeling that makes
the trouble taken worth while.
If by any chance you cannot
sit on the ground at all, use a
stool or chair. The important
thing is for the body to be per-
fectly steady, with the head,
neck and back held in a straight
Note the position of the hands
in the illustrations. The backs of the wrists rest on the
knees and the first finger of each hand is bent and
touches the thumb.
Before commencing Pranayama it is required that
the body should be clean and free of impurities. Have
a sponge down and clear the nostrils. Rinse your mouth
with water and rub tongue and gums with your
At least two hours should have elapsed since a meal.
The exercises should be done in the open, before
an open window, or at least in an airy room.
Wear loose fitting clothes, but don’t risk catching
cold. Remove constricting collars and ties.

The Cleansing Breath (Kapalabhati)

Kapalabhati does not really belong to Pranayama,
but is one of the six purification practices (see Chapter
II). It is designed to clear the sinuses and rid the nerve
channels (nadis) of impurities and should precede the
other breathing exercises.
As with all the breathing exercises given in this
chapter it is best performed in one of the meditative
Inhalation (puraka) and exhalation (rechaka) take
place through the nose, the latter being accomplished
by means of a quick and vigorous contraction of the
abdominal muscles and diaphragm.
Take a deep breath through both nostrils, then puU
in the abdominal muscles and diaphragm in a sharp
instroke that forces the air out of your nose so fast as
to be almost a sneeze. Immediately the exhalation is
finished, inhale again.
Exhalation should take less time than inhalation.
At the start do it ten times at the rate of two exhalations
per second. This completes a round. Take a minute’s
rest, breathing normally, before commencing a
further round.
You should be able to add to the size of a round
until you are doing twenty or more inhalations and
exhalations. Speed too can be increased but this should
never be at the expense of efficiency.
There is likely to be a sHght soreness of the abdomen
at first until the muscles strengthen. Daily practice of
uddiyana as described in Chapter II will faciHtate the
performance of Kapalabhati.

Kapalabhati clears the nasal passages, cleanses the
sinuses and nerve channels.
It enriches the bloodstream and improves circulation.
It rejuvenates and is said to prolong hfe.
It prepares the body for Pranayama.

Comfortable Pranayama (Sukh Pnrvak)

This is an easier and less strenuous cleansing exercise.
Sit in one of the meditative postures. Close the
right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale slowly and
evenly through the left nostril, filling the lower (often
neglected) parts of the lungs, then the middle and
upper lungs. There must be no forcing. Retain the
air for a few seconds, closing the left nostril with
the left thumb. This breath suspension the Yogi
calls Kumbhaka. Then release the right nostril and
exhale slowly through it.
Now repeat the process. Inhale through the right
nostril, retain the air and exhale through the left
nostril. This is one round.
The ratio favoured by the Yogis between puraka,
kumbhaka and rechaka is 114:2. That is to say, if you
inhale for five seconds, you suspend the breath for
twenty seconds, and exhale over a count of ten
seconds. At first, however, it would be inadvisable
to use such a ratio, gradually working up to it from
ratios of 1:1:2 and 1:2:2. The breath must always be
even and kept under perfect control.
Sukh Purvak aids digestion and improves the
It cleanses the nasal passages, and sinuses.
It tones up the nervous system.
It purifies and enriches the bloodstream.
It has a calming and concentrating effect on the

The Bellows Breath (Bhastrika)

This breathing exercise is so named because it
imitates the action of a blacksmith’s bellows.
In Bhastrika you inhale and exhale at the rate of
about one inhalation and exhalation per second. As
in Kapalabhati the inhalation should be twice as long
as the exhalation, which is assisted by a quick instroke
of the abdominal muscles and diaphragm. It differs
from Kapalabhati in that a suspension of breath
(kumbhaka) is added at the end of each roimd. It
also differs in a variation using alternate instead of
both nostrils.
Ten exhalations will be enough for one round at
first but later you should be able to manage comfortably
sixty exhalations in a round of one minute. At
the completion of each round perform a kumbhaka
as follows—
Inhale deeply and slowly through the right nostril
(pingala) until the lungs are comfortably filled. Retain
the breath for some seconds, then exhale slowly
through the left nostril (ida). When all the air has
been expelled inhale through the same nostril. Suspend
again. Exhale through the right nostril. This is done
at the end of each round. When using one nostril the
other is held closed with a finger or thumb.
Yoga literature contains several slight variations of
technique. Sometimes the kumbhaka is described with
the use of both nostrils.
The chief variation is to use alternate instead of
both nostrils in the ‘bellows’ part of Bhastrika. Close
your left nostril. Exhale through the right nostril.
Inhale through the same nostril and exhale sharply
through the left nostril. This means releasing the left
nostril and at the same time closing the right. Immed-
diately you have expelled the air through the left
nostril you inhale through it and exhale through the
right nostril, and so on.

Bhastrika is greatly favoured by Yogis as it is said
to awaken the energy (kxmdalini) previously dormant
in the body.
It removes the phlegm and cleanses the nerve
It purifies the bloodstream.
It aids digestion.
It prevents and cures disease.
It warms the body.
It tones up the nervous system.

The Audible Breath (Ujjayi)

In Ujjayi you breathe through both nostrils. It
differs from the other pranayamas in that the glottis
remains half-closed during puraka and rechaka. This
partial closure of the glottis produces a soft but clearly
audible sound during breathing. The steadiness of
this sound should be noted to see if the breathing is
as smooth, slow and controlled as it should be.
Between inhalation and exhalation there is a sus-
pension of breath which is assisted by the chin-lock
(jalandhara). The chin is lowered and rested firmly in
the jugular notch. The Yogis say that through kumb-
haka, Prana can be sent to all parts of the body, “from
the nails of the toes to the tips of the hair.’* Some of
them develop the practice of breath suspension to
such a degree that they can be buried for days without
coming to any harm.
We can marvel at, but need not try to emulate,
such feats. Do not try to prolong kumbhaka unduly.
Besides the possibihty of a strain of lungs or heart,
if you suspend the breath over-long exhalation will
not be under full control. The air will be expelled
violently or jerkily instead of in the smooth, even
manner required.
Ujjayi can be performed standing, and even when
walking, as well as in the meditative postures. People
whose leisure time is hmited should watch out for
opportunities to perform this breathing exercise in
the course of their daily activities.

Ujjayi clears the head and removes phlegm from
the throat.
It cleanses the nerve channels and tones up the whole
nervous system.
It cures and prevents diseases like asthma and
It aids digestion and banishes dyspepsia.
It purifies the bloodstream.
It prolongs hfe.

In this pranayama the teeth are kept together and
the air is inhaled through the mouth with a hissing
Suspend the breath, using the chin lock.
Exhale through the nostrils.

Sitkari purifies the bloodstream.
It prevents and cures diseases.
It aids digestion.
It appeases hunger and quenches thirst.
It cools the body.
In Sitali the tongue is protruded beyond the lips
and folded into a trough.
Inhalation, suspension and exhalation are performed
as in Sitkari.
As in Sitkari.

These are the most important exercises of Prana-

yama. Readers will be able to select two or three for
daily practice. If performed carefully and as instructed,
there will be an immediate increase in bodily vitahty,
and a tranquilhzing effect on the mind will be pro-
duced. But forcing or long breath suspensions must be
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika makes this clear. “J^st
as Hons, elephants and tigers are controlled by and by,
so the breath is controlled by slow degrees, otherwise
it kills the practiser himself. When Pranayama, etc.,
are performed properly, they eradicate all diseases,
but an improper practice generates diseases. Hiccup,
asthma, cough, pain in the head, the ears, the eyes;
these and other various kinds of diseases are generated
by the disturbances of the breath. The air should be
expelled with proper tact, and should be filled in
skilfully, and should be kept confined properly. Thus
it brings success. When the nadis (nerve channels)
become free from impurities, and there appear the
outward signs of success, such as lean body and
glowing colour, then one should feel certain of success.

By removing the impurities of the nadis the air can

be restrained, according to one’s wish, and the appetite
is increased, the divine sound is awakened, and the
body becomes healthy.”


How Much Time Is Needed?

You will naturally be wondering how much time
you need devote to Yoga exercises to obtain benefit.
Any time given to it will not be wasted, but for satis-
factory results at least fifteen minutes daily should be
given to the exercises of Part I,
There is an argument I hear over and over again:
“I would like to have more vitahty, better stamina,
a shapeUer and more youthful appearance, a tranquil
mind . , . but I just haven’t the time.”
I don’t think there is a person Uving—no matter
how full his daily activities—^who could not find time
(and lots of it) for some worthwhile task.
Try this experiment. For one whole day, fiom
rising in the morning to retiring to bed in the evening,
write down how you spent every minute. At the end
of the day you will be amazed to find the number of
minutes, probably hours, that have been wasted on
nothing of importance. This is true even of those
people who claim that they never have a .minute to
spare. If you utihze this time and add to it an extra
half-hour a day through rising that much earUer in
the morning, you will, beHeve it or not, be ‘making’
several weeks extra time per year. Work it out for
This book has been written in the knowledge
that most of its readers will be busy people, but
the mere fifteen minutes or so extra time required
daily for your yoga practice can be easily ‘made’,
as I have shown, and surely are worth spending
to achieve physical and mental health hitherto

Time and Place

Your daily Yoga practice may take place at any time
you like provided at least two hoUrs have elapsed since
having a meal. A regular time each day should be
fixed. Usually the most suitable times are in the
morning on rising or before retiring to bed in the
evening. Of these two the former is probably the
better time as it gives a good start to the day. Exercises
may be performed in the morning and meditation
in the evening.
Wash yourself all over with cold or luke-warm
water, followed by a good towelling so that the skin
is clean and glowing.
You may then wish to perform neti as described in
the chapter on Yoga Hygiene. Sniff warm water to
which a little salt has been added up one nostril and
expel it from the mouth. Do this a few times with
alternate nostrils.
Follow this by brushing the teeth and rinsing your
mouth. Wet the first and second fingers of either hand
and massage your gums and tongue with them. Fill
your mouth with water two or three times and spit
it out.
Place a folded blanket or rug on the floor of an
airy, but not cold or draughty room. You can, of
course, exercise outdoors if the weather is suitable.
Wear as httle clothing as possible, and that loose-

A 15 Minute Programme
The postures and breathing exercises lend themselves
to a certain order which gives best results.
Here is a Yoga programme which makes the most
of the exercises and including rest pauses takes only
fifteen minutes.
Commence with Uddiyana (and Nauh when you
can do it). It gives an internal massage to the abdo-
minal area. Exhale and perform one to twenty
contractions according to your ability. Remember
that to do this successfully all possible air must be
expelled from the lungs. Take fifteen seconds’ rest
then do another roimd. Later you should be able to
add a third round.
This will be sufficient for ordinary purposes, but the
advanced Yogi may practise until he is performing at
least 750 contractions. Theos Bernard, who under-
took the full Yogi discipline, imder an Indian guru,
reported in his Hatha Yoga that he practised Uddiyana
twice a day, in the morning and late afternoon. He
commenced with several roimds of ten contractions
ro the exhalation. Soon he increased the number of
contractions to twenty and was doing ten rounds.
He added five extra rounds each week until he passed
the minimum 750 contractions. Bernard increased the
contractions to fifty on each exhalation and ended up
doing one thousand contractions twice a day, taking
thirty to forty minutes.
He then began NauH, isolating and rolling from
side to side the rectus abdominus. He developed this
exercise until he was able to perform a total of 750
isolations, twenty-five to each exhalation.
It should be remembered that Bernard was devoting
his whole time, morning till night, to Yoga practice.
And he states : “It is not necessary to carry these
exercises to such extremes in order to obtain physical
benefits. They were assigned to me as a preparation
for the advanced practice of Yoga, and I had to master
them before I was permitted to take up the next step.
During this initial period, when I was learning tech-
niques, I noted a sharper appetite, better vision, and
better physical tone. All the muscles of my body were
in good condition, hard and solid. I enjoyed excellent
health and was fiee firom all minor ailments of seden-
tary hfe.”

The Postures
Begin the postures with THE SHOULDER-STAND
(SARVANGASANA). DO it slowly and stretch your toes
towards the ceiling. Hold for up to one minute.
Lower the legs slowly to the ground.
Rest for fifteen seconds.
Raise your legs again and this time carry them over
your head until the toes touch the floor beyond your
head. You may find the PLOUGH POSTURE (HALASANA)
difficult at first. Possibly you will have to spread your
legs and bend them at the knees. At any rate hold what-
ever posture you can manage for up to one minute.
Rest again for fifteen seconds.
Turn over and do the COBRA POSTURE (BHUJANG-
ASANA). Going into the posture should be a slow,
smooth rising of the front part of the body with no
more assistance from the arms than is absolutely
As you perform this, and all the other Asanas,
have a mental picture of the good they are doing you,
stretching the muscles and vertebrae, improving the
circulation, toning up the nervous system, promoting
strength, health and vitahty.
Take fifteen seconds’ rest after the Cobra, then turn
over again on to your back so as to perform THE
Even if you cannot get your face on to your knees
without bending your legs remember that you are
benefiting from the exercise. Hold the position for
up to one minute.
Fifteen seconds’ rest.
spine in another direction than did Paschimatasana.
This is not an easy pose, but continued practice will
bring increased success.
Follow with fifteen seconds’ rest.
THE HEAD STAND (SIRSASANA) can be done against
a wall or locked door. The position will be strange
to you at first, but when you begin to feel its
benefits you will start enjoying the posture. Use
a soft cushion for your head. This pose brings a
copious flow of blood to the head, thus nourishing
the brain cells.
People with high blood-pressure or heart com-
plaints should not do Sirsasana, and elderly people
may prefer the mild variation of lying at an angle
with the feet raised liigher than the head. When Dad
puts his stockinged feet on the mantelpiece, he may
not know it but he is relaxing the Yoga way.
Do not attempt to hold the inverted position for
long periods. As soon as any discomfort is felt slowly
lower your feet to the ground. I have known students
continue until having blackouts, which is of course
foolish and dangerous.
It is interesting to note, however, that Theos
Bernard was set a standard of three hours. He began
with ten seconds for the first week, adding thirty
seconds each week until doing fifteen minutes. After
many months he was able to hold the inverted posture
for the required three hours at a stretch. This seems
incredible, and Bernard’s reactions are of interest.
What is it Hke to stand on one’s head for three hours?
He says that on immediately taking up the pose his
respiratory rate speeded up, then slackened again.
For a while he felt very relaxed, then came a tendency
to restlessness, followed by a copious flow of perspira-
tion from face and body. This, he was told, was a
danger signal, and he had then to stop. Later he was
able to overcome this tendency,
Bernard found by this time that his greatest problem
was mental rather than physical. He did not know what
to do with his mind. His teacher told him to fix his
gaze on a spot level with his eyes and concentrate his
mind on it. When he did this time passed rapidly.
He was also permitted to do a few movements with
his legs when in the inverted posture.

The Breathing Exercises

Now adopt a seated cross-legged position for com-
mencing the breathing exercises.
Start with the Cleansing Breath (Kapalabhati).
You should be able to manage one inhalation and
exhalation per second. Work up to twenty or more
repetitions. Take a short rest then do another round.
After fifteen seconds’ rest during which you can
breathe normally, commence the Bellows Breath
(Bhastrika). This can be done using both nostrils or
alternate nostrils. When preceding it with Kapalabhati
I prefer the alternate nostrils variation. Work up to
twenty or more repetitions followed by a Kumbhaka.
Avoid strain during the breath retention. Take a few
seconds’ rest, then do another round.
Again the rest pause of fifteen seconds.
Finish your Pranayama with the Audible Breath
(Ujyayi). Remember that smoothness and control
are required throughout if the maximum benefits
are to be received. Continue Ujjayi for about a
In all the breathing exercises have a mental picture
of your body being flooded with the hfe-force of
Prana. Feel the Prana being carried on the enriched
bloodstream to every cell in your body.
Ujjayi completed, you should finish the programme
with Yoga Relaxation (Savasana). Even two or three
minutes’ high-quahty relaxation can make a pleasant
ending to the Yoga session and you should get up
feeling ready to tackle whatever work and responsi-
bihties the day has in store for you.
The programme just described will take only fifteen
minutes, including the rest pauses between exercises.
If any day you have less time to spare a still beneficial
schedule would be Shoulder Stand or Head Stand,
Cobra or Bow, Posterior Stretch, Comfortable
Pranayama or Cleansing Breath.
And if you have only five minutes to spare, perform
the Cat Stretch and Comfortable Pranayama or the
Cleansing Breath.

The Yoga Cat Stretch

This is one of the most complete exercises known
to man, a combination of several asanas and a ‘work-
out’ in itself. The ancient Yogis first devised it after
studying the stretching actions of the jungle animals.
You can observe the domestic cat performing similar
Stand with feet together, then lean forward and
place the palms of your hands on the floor at shoulder
width. Arms and legs should be stiff; the buttocks
are held as high as possible and the body supported
on the toes and hands. Keep your chin tucked in
against your chest so that you are gazing at your feet.
This is the first position.
Bending your arms, bring your head forward and
shoulders downwards in a sweeping, circular motion.
The chest should sweep low and touch the floor as it
passes between the hands. Straighten your arms. At
the completion of the circtJar motion your back
should be arched with your head pressing backwards,
chin up and eyes staring at the ceiling. Use your
locked arms to push the body upwards and backwards.
You will recognize this position as being identical
with the Cobra Posture. Hold for a few seconds
before returning to the original position by reversing
the movements described.
Perform several repetitions.

Regular Practice Essential

Try never to miss your daily Yoga practice. After
a few days I am certain you will not want to miss it.
Indeed you will probably want to give extra time to it.
If you do so, you may like to split the postures and
breathing into separate periods. Ten to fifteen minutes
could be given to the postures in the morning and ten
to fifteen minutes to Yoga breathing in the evening.
A few minutes’ Pranayama before retiring will not
only help you get to sleep but improve its quahty as
During the day you will probably find oppor-
tunities for doing a few minutes’ Uddiyana, Savasana,
Sirsasana or Ujjayi (remember that this can be done
walking). Time spent in Yoga practice is never wasted.




1. Abdominal Contraction (Uddiyana) i

2. The Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana) i
3. The Plough (Halasana) .. .. i
4. The Cobra (Bhujangasana) .. .. i
5. The Posterior Stretch
(Paschimatanasana) .. .. i
6. The Bow (Dhanurasana) .. .. i
7. The Head Stand (Sirsasana) .. .. i


8. The Cleansing Breath (Kapalabhati) i

9. The Bellows Breath (Bhastrika) .. i
10. The Audible Breath (Ujjayi) .. i
11. The Corpse Posture (Savasana) .. 2
Rest pauses between exercises .. 3

Total time • » 15 mm.

1. Abdominal Contraction (Uddiyana) i
2. The Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)
or The Head Stand (Sirsasana) .. i
3. The Cobra (Bhujangasana)
or The Bow (Dhanurasana) .. i
4. The Posterior Stretch
(Paschimatanasana) .. .. i

5. The Cleansing Breath (Kapalabhati)

or Comfortable Pranayama (Sukh
6. The Corpse Posture (Savasana) 4
Rest pause between exercises .. 14

Total time 10 min.

1. The Yoga Cat Stretch .. .. 2J

2. Comfortable Pranayama (Sukh

Purvak) or The Cleansing Breath
(Kapalabhati) .. .. .. 2J

Total time • • 5 imn.


1. The Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana) ij
2. The Cobra (Bhujangasana) .. .. i|
3. The Posterior Stretch (Paschimatan-
asana^ •• •• •• ..
4. The Bow (Dhanurasana) .. ..
5. The Mountain (Parbatasana) .. ,. iJ


6. The Cleansing Breath (Kapalabhati)

7. The Audible Breath (Ujjayi) ..
8. The Corpse Posture (Savasana) .. 2|
Rest pauses between exercises .. 2

Total time • • 15 mm.



With the sword of the understanding of thyself

thou shalt rend asunder in thy heart every doubt
arising from ignorance, and thou shalt achieve
thy permanence in Yoga.
Bhagavad Gita

It (is) astonishing that Western reason has taken

so little into account the experimental research
of Indian Raja-yogins, and that it has not tried to
use the methods of control and mastery, which
they offer in broad daylight without any mystery,
over the one infinitely fragile and constantly
warped instrument that is our only means of
discovering what exists.
Romain RoUand
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Raja Yoga
Hatha Yoga brings the body into harmony with
the universe. The postures, breathing exercises, etc.,
have a calming influence on the mind and prepare it
for the disciplines of Raja Yoga—the Royal Path.
Hatha Yoga is a preparation for the conquest of con-
sciousness, the mind’s turbulence being easiest curbed
and its energies concentrated in a strong body.
Alain Danielou, in a work on the different Yoga
ways, says: “The movements of the mind are the
cause of man’s bondage. The action of his intellect is
the instrument of his freedom. That particular mode
of action by which the intellect stills the movements
of the mind is known as the Royal Way to re-
integration. This is the highest form of Yoga, all other
forms being preparatory.”

If you are already carrying out daily Yoga practice
you will have experienced its beneficial influence on
the mind. The steady, natural postures and smooth,
measured Pranayama have a calming and controlling
effect on thought and emotion. The meditative
exercises of Raja Yoga will complete this mastery.
It takes but a httle self-observation to see just how
limited is the control over our minds. Raja Yoga
teaches mastery of one’s mind and self by psychic
exercises aimed at controlling and subduing the thought
waves or vrittis. The word vritti means hterally ‘‘a
whirlpool”—and that is just what most people’s minds
are like.
Harmonious health is impossible if the emotions are
not under control. Emotional stresses—worry, fear,
frustration, insecurity—are now known to be respon-
sible for such diverse complaints as peptic ulcer,
coronary thrombosis, high blood-pressure, tuberculo-
sis, pneumonia, appendicitis, diabetes, asthma, schizo-
phrenia. It has been estimated that in America more
than half the people seeking the services of doctors
suffer from emotionally induced complaints.
When subjected to stress, the body’s glands, in par-
ticular the adrenals, release chemicals into the blood-
stream which act as resistance mobilizers. When the
stress is prolonged, these chemicals turn traitor and can
cause serious damage to vital organs. Also bodily
resistance to other attacks is lowered.
We can experience for ourselves the harmful and
unpleasant effects of such an emotion as anger—the
eyes protrude, the face bums, blood pressure rises, the
fists clench, the stomach muscles contract. Dark
emotions like fear, anxiety, jealousy, and hatred
poison the bloodstream and destroy health and peace
of mind. Medical science now recognizes them as
But the bright emotions making for harmony—
love, joy, hope, etc.—have a beneficial influence on
bodily health. The dark emotions contract; the bright
emotions expand. Supreme among the latter is Love,
which if supported by Courage will protect you fiom
the stresses of civiUzation and lead to a richer and
fuller life.
All Yoga practice has the effect of stilling the mind’s
turbulence and holding the flame of the passions
steady. A considerable measure of Detachment
(Vairagya in Yogic terminology) is built up. In
Vairagya one does not react automatically to stimuli
or impulses, but first relates them to an objective “I”
who decides what the course of action should be. This
means that you do not give way to temper or any of
the destructive dark emotions. In fact the “I” kills
them before the bodily reaction of flushed skin,
tensed muscles and adrenalin-saturated blood has
time to take place. Most people are slaves to environ-
mental changes. Even the weather can affect them.
The ‘1” often o’clock is not the “I” of eleven o’clock;
it may not even be the “I” of one minute past ten, for
environmental change of stimxfli taking only a spht
second could trigger off a new mood, a different-
coloured “I”. Yoga puts you in touch with your
objective “I”, gives you a permanent centre of gravity.
When things are examined objectively, without heat
or passion, one ceases to become attached to them.

They lose their power to disturb or inflame. Normally

it takes much time for old wounds to heal. Such is the
miracle of Vairagya that they heal in a matter of
All this makes for inner tranquillity. The Yogi may
continue to Hve an active civilized Ufe, but he will do
so calmly and steadily. Sri Aurobindo, in his Basis of
Yoga, has this to say of the calm mind that results
from self-training:
“In the calm mind, it is the substance of the mental
being that is still, so still that nothing disturbs it. If
thoughts or activities come, they do not arise at all
out of the mind, but they come from outside and cross
the mind as a flight of birds crosses the sky in a windless
air. It passes, disturbs nothing, leaving no trace. Even
if a thousand images, or the most violent events pass
across it, the cahn stillness remains as if the very texture
of the mind were a substance of eternal and indestruct-
ible peace. A mind that has achieved this calmness can
begin to act, even intensely and powerfully, but it will
keep its fundamental stillness—originating nothmg for
itself, but receiving from Above and giving a mental
form without adding anything of its own, calmly,
dispassionately, though with the joy of the Truth and
the happy power and Hght of its passage.”
We live m exciting but dangerous times. If we are
to come through unscathed we will need the self-
mastery that comes from peace of the spirit and having
a permanent centre of gravity. The average person
does not know the inner peace and integration of the

Yogi. His thoughts are leaves driven hither and thither

by the wind of his desires. Through Raja Yoga faith-
fully practised the mind can be stilled, thoughts con-
trolled, selected and directed at will. The value of such
a mastery in civiHzed Hfe is obvious.
La Rue puts it: “Health is wealth; but the very
exuberance of bodily health may be a curse without
proper mental control. All health that is not ultimately
mental is not health at all.’’

East and West

With the last four limbs of Yoga—Pratyahara,
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi—^we leave the external
world and enter the internal world of consciousness.
This is a natural and easy transition for the Easterner,
but many Westerners will stand hesitantly on the
brink of what are to them uncharted waters. To
understand why this is so one must consider the
traditional difference between Western and Eastern
Western thought has been directed outwards, con-
cerning itself chiefly with material things. Great
advances have been made in such sciences as nuclear
physics, but the youngest science and the one in which
least progress has been made is that which seeks to
understand our owoi minds—psychology.
The approach of the Eastern thinker, on the other
hand, has been philosophical. He has turned his thought
inwards, exploring consciousness to its very source.
While progress to the Westerner means faster travel.

more material comforts, etc., to the Easterner it means

spiritual self-unfoldment. The latter unhesitatingly
leaves the external world to enter the internal world of
consciousness, because he feels and beheves that the
two worlds are one. In entering himself he comes
closer to the vast outside universe; external and
internal being only relative terms.
“Make peace with yourself,” says St. Isaak of Syria,
“and heaven and earth will make peace with you.
Endeavour to enter your own inner cell, and you will
see the heavens; because the one and the other are one
and the same, and when you enter one you see the
As long as we in the West keep turning our attention
and energies outwards, there can be no possibihty of
inner development. The psycho-analyst Dr. C. G.
Jung has said: “We have built a monumental world
round about us, and have slaved for it with unequalled
energy. But it is so imposing only because we have
spent upon the outside all that is imposing in our
natures—and what we find when we look within must
necessarily be as it is, shabby and insufficient.”
Not only Jimg, but many other leading Western
psychologists, have studied and appreciated the signi-
ficance and value of Eastern psychic exploration,
among them Professor William James, who said:
“The most venerable system and the one whose results
have the most voluminous experimental corroboration,
is undoubtedly Yoga. The results claimed, and cer-
tainly in many cases accorded by impartial judges, is
strength of character, personal power, nnshakeabihty
of soul.”
The subconscious is a term beloved of present-day
psychologists, writers and journalists. It refers to that
part of our minds of which we are not consciously
aware, but which nevertheless is the largest part of our
minds, and influences to a powerful degree our every-
day actions. The subconscious is the storehouse of our
memories. Through hypnosis and psycho-analysis it
can be contacted. The ancient Yogis knew about and
understood the workings of the subconscious mind
thousands of years ago, just as they formulated the
philosophic doctrine Syadvada, which resembles
relativism, two thousand years before Einstein’s
The idea of meditation, which is the basis of Raja
Yoga practice, is strange to the West, unhke the East
where not only priests and monks and the very devout
set aside time for daily meditation, but also people in
all walks of Hfe.
Dr, Lily Abegg, in her book The Mind of East Asia,
says: “Not only priests and monks take part in the Zen
exercises, but also many laymen who wish to study the
methods of contemplation. In Japan, particularly
during the last war, these attracted large numbers from
all sections of the population. ... Not only officers,
businessmen and ministers of state, but also postal
officials, shop assistants, railwaymen, young school-
boys and many others, meditated. It went so far that
even in training estabhshments, schools and also in
many factories and other concerns a short period was
set aside in the mornings for ‘meditation’ (of course
not necessarily of a Zen-Buddhist kind!).”
Can you see this happening in the West, where the
craze for speed and action leaves no time for so vague
and tenuous a thing as meditation? We live lives of
hustle and strain, without getting to know our true
Self. The Easterner looks on the Westerner as ignorant
because he does not know his own nature and is not
master of his soul. The Westerner looks on the
Easterner as ignorant because he has made Httle pro-
gress in exploring nature and developing the sciences.
Dr. Lily Abegg says: “Our consciousness developed
in an extravert, that of the East Asians in an introvert
manner. The East Asians followed the inner way and
reached a high level of consciousness relatively early;
whereas in their knowledge of the world they remained
far behind us. They know man better, and we are
better acquainted with the world. That is how those
mutual accusations of defective knowledge, which are
made with complete justification by each side, come
Yet the differences may not be so great as we think.
The latest scientific discoveries in the field of nuclear
physics, for example, seem merely to corroborate
what the ancient East stated in philosophic terms. No
race or portion of the globe has the monopoly of
wisdom. East can learn from West, and West from
East. The outgoing consciousness of the Occident
requires the influence of the ingoing consciousness of
the Orient. The life-negation of the East requires an
awakening from the life-afhrmation of the West.

Levels of Consciousness
The aim of Yoga is the attainment of the super-
conscious state of samadhi. To this end are the physical
preparation of Hatha Yoga and the meditative prac-
tices of Raja Yoga devised. The Yogi beUeves that
conscious evolution is inherent in all men. Each one of
them possesses the power of spiritual self-unfoldment.
Men hve in different levels of being, from the animal
to the divine. Yoga is the system whereby a man can
work in his own Ufetime to achieve a higher stage of
This idea of different levels of consciousness—
though an old one—^will be strange to most Western-
ers. We are inclined to take our consciousness for
granted. But is the one we know the only one possible?
Does there not seem irrefutable evidence that other
people experience different levels of consciousness from
ourselves? And have we not had our own moments of
heightened consciousness, often in childhood?
Dr. Maurice Nicoll says: “We know that there can
enter into all that we see, do, think and feel, a sense
of unrealness. Sometimes it takes the form of seeing
the imreahty of other people. We observe that some
force seems to be hurrying everyone to and fro. We
see transiently a puppet-world, in which people arc
moved as by strings. Sometimes, however, in place of
unreahty, an extraordinary intensity of reaUty is felt.
We suddenly see someone for the first time, whom we
have known for years, in a kind of stillness. We per-
ceive the reahty of another existence, or we perceive
the existence of nature, suddenly, as a marvel, for the
first time. The same experience, felt in relation to
one’s invisibility, the perception of I, of duration
without time.
“These feelings surround our natural reality. I
think: that they show us clearly enough that there are
other meanings of oneself, or forms of conscious
And WiUiam James said: “Our normal waking
consciousness, rational consciousness, is but one
special type of consciousness, while all about it, parted
from it by the flimsiest of screens, there are potential
forms of consciousness entirely different.”
The Gurdjieff/Ouspensky School which has many
followers in the West, says that there are seven cate-
gories of man.
Man No. i is Physical Man. This is animal man.
He identifies his “I” with his body. The centre of
gravity of his psychic life lies in the moving centre.
The moving and instinctive functions constantly
outweigh the emotional and thinking functions. For
him knowledge is based upon imitation or instincts,
learned by heart, crammed or drilled into him. He
learns like a parrot.
Man No. 2 is Emotional Man. His centre of gravity
lies in the emotional centre, the emotional functions
outweighing all others. He is the man of feeling,
learning by likes and dislikes.
Man No. 3 is Intellecttial Man, the man of reason.
The centre of gravity of his psychic hfe is in the
intellectual centre, where thinking functions are gain-
ing the upper hand over the moving, instinctive and
emotional. His knowledge is that of the bookworm.
All men, says this school, are bom one of these three
types of men. But by training, self-discipline and
strife, higher levels of consciousness can be reached.
Man No. 4 is an intermediate stage. He has become
conscious of his possible self-unfoldment. He is
beginning to acquire a permanent centre of gravity.
One dominant, permanent “f’ is fighting to master
the multiplicity of “fs’’ that previously struggled for
possession of his mind. He is being emancipated fiom
the subjective elements in his knowledge and is begin-
ning to move along the path towards objective
Man No. 5 has reached unity. His knowledge is
whole, indivisible knowledge. He has one indivisible
“I” and his knowledge belongs to it. What he knows
the whole of him knows.
Man No. 6 differs fiom Man No. 7 only by the fact
that some of his properties have not yet become per-
manent. Higher centres are at work in him. He pos-
sesses powers beyond the imderstanding of ordinary
Man No. 7 has reached the highest stage of con-
scioxis evolution. He has free-will and permanent,
unchangeable “I”. He has objective knowledge of

Yoga and Reason

Raja Yoga, though mystical, is based on the firm
foundation of reason. That some schools of Yoga
allowed themselves in the course of their long history
to become clouded by superstition and magic, does
not alter the truth of this basis. Great Yoga teachers
like Vivekananda look on Yoga as a science, free from
superstition, and based on reason, only in the final
stage to transcend it. He says: “To get any reason out
of the mass of incongruity we call human life, we have
to transcend our reason, but we must do it scientific-
ally, slowly, by regular practice, and we must cast off
all superstition. We must take up the study of the
super-conscious state just as any other science. On
reason we must lay our foundation, we must follow
reason as far as it leads; and when reason fails, reason
itself will show us the way to the highest plane.
When you hear a man say, ‘I am inspired’, and then
talk irrationally, reject it. Why? Because these three
states,—^instinct, reason and super-consciousness, or
the unconscious, conscious, and super-conscious states
—belong to one and the same mind. There are not
three minds in one man, but one state of it develops
into the others. Instinct develops into reason, and
reason into the transcendental consciousness; therefore
not one of the states contradicts the others. Real
inspiration never contradicts reason, but fulfils it. Just
as you find the great prophets saying, ‘I come not to
destroy but to fulfil’, so inspiration always comes to
fulfil reason, and is in harmony with it.”
Raja Yoga does not ask of you anything that is
unreasonable. It does not merely theorize, but asks
you to try for yourself. Only by putting the technique
into practice can you experience its truth.
And if you say that you do not wish to become a
mystic, but merely to gain some measure of control
over an unruly mind, to enrich that mind and to find
tranquiUity and strength with which to face an m-
creasingly more complex and difficult hfe, you will
find what you seek in the concentration practices of
the Royal Path.


The Time
Set aside fifteen to thirty minutes daily for stilling the
mind and attaining inner serenity. You will look
forward to these periods. The time is not wasted as
you will soon discover.
You may wish to meditate immediately after per-
forming your Asanas and Pranayama which will
prepare the mind for it. Or you may prefer or find it
more convenient to allot a separate time each day.
If you meditate in the morning the inner serenity
achieved will be carried into working life. Many
readers will object that in the morning they are too
rushed. This is often the case but can be overcome by
rising earlier so as to fit m the meditation period.
This should not be hurried. Give it a trial and you
will see how worthwhile it is.
If you meditate before going to bed in the evening
the serenity produced will ensure sleep of a high
quality. If you go to sleep with worries or active
thoughts on your mind you will have poor quality
rest, but go to bed with a peaceful mind and you will
sleep like a child and awaken wonderfully refreshed
in the morning.

Except for just after meals any time of the day will
do for Yoga meditation. You need not of course limit
yourself to one period daily, but can have several if
you wish.
It is best, though, once you have decided on a time
of day, to stick to it. The habit thus formed assists
A time when I always have a meditation period is
when called upon to tackle some difficult or fearful
task, or when worried or under emotional stress. In
the sublime peace of the stilled mind fear and grief
and stress are reheved and priceless courage is gained.

The Place
Yoga meditation should be performed in a quiet
place free from noise, interruptions and extremes of
It can be either outdoors or indoors. It is very
pleasant to meditate outdoors in peaceful and beautiful
surroundings, but weather conditions and other factors
usually rule this out in our part of the world.
One place in the house should be decided upon and
adhered to. It should be a clean, bright and airy room.
It should be without unpleasant associations. In my
book The Art of Relaxed Living I told the story of a
man who found that he could not relax in a certain
room m his house. He felt the presence of some
strangely disturbing force. Going over the objects in
the room one by one he finally located the trouble.
It was a photograph of himself as a child. The trouble

was that the photograph showed a Uttle boy with a

glorious head of curls, whereas the man was now bald.
Whatever the room you decide upon, you can make
its atmosphere more conducive to meditation and
relaxation by hanging pleasant paintings on the walls.

The Posture
One of the meditative postures should be used. In
these seated poses the body forces are unified and
gathered as in a non-leaking container. The work of
the lungs and heart is made easier, the body is very
still, and the spine—housing the vital nervous system—
is held naturally upright.
People who because of age, or any other reason,
cannot adopt even the Easy Posture (Sukhasana) should
use a comfortable straight-backed chair.
As in performing Pranayama, spine and head should
be kept erect and in a straight line. A wall or door may
be used for support, and a cushion can be placed
against the small of the back to help keep it straight.
Sit on a cushion or folded rug or blanket.
If the body and neck muscles are weak the posture
will not be firm and steady, a necessity for Yoga
meditation. Hence the value of the preparatory Hatha
Yoga exercises can be appreciated.
The body must be held perfectly still, naturally
braced, yet not tensed. It must not intrude into con-
sciousness. It is a mistake to place oneself in a pain-
fully contorted position and expect to achieve success
in stilling the mind. If sense-withdrawal (Pratyahara)
is to be achieved there must be no discomfort. This
seems obvious to me, but there are many fanatics who
suffer in the difficult Lotus Posture (Padmasana) in the
beUef that it is the only way to success.
The meditative postures have been proved to be
the finest positions for calming and mastering the
mind, but remember that the Indian Yogi is famihar
with these postures from an early age and spends
hours daily thus seated. They are completely comfort-
able to him. He feels no strain.
If there is any strain at all make do with the Easy
Posture, using a wall or door for back support, or just
a chair. Many readers may wonder why lying on your
back is not the best position to adopt. It is because a
recumbent position would naturally tend to promote
a feeling of drowsiness and this is not desirable in
Yoga meditation, for in doing it you are not asleep,
but rather very much awake and alert.

Curbing the Restless Mind

In the Bhagavad Gita we find the following quota-
tion :
Arjuna says: ‘Tor the mind is verily restless, O
Krishna; it is impetuous, strong and difEcult to bend,
I deem it as hard to curb as the wind.’’
Krishna answers: “Without doubt, O Mighty-
Armed, the mind is hard to curb and restless, but it
may be curbed by constant practice and by indiff-
Vivekananda says: “From our childhood upwards
we have been taught only to pay attention to things
external, but never to things internal, hence most of
us have nearly lost the faculty of observing the internal
mechanism. To turn the mind, as it were, inside, stop
it from going outside, and then to concentrate all its
powers, and throw them upon the mind itself, in
order that it may know its own nature, analyse itself—
is very hard work. Yet that is the only way to any-
thing which will be a scientific approach to the
Yes, the mind is difficult to tame, especially if it
has been allowed to run loose for many years. But it
can be mastered as the Gita says “by constant practice”.
The first step in this practice is Sense-Withdrawal,
called by the Yogis Pratyahara.
Remember that Raja Yoga can only be fully under-
stood by living it, by experiencing it for yourself;
then what seemed before to be impossibly complex
and incomprehensible will become clear and progress
will be speeded up incredibly.

Sense-Withdrawal (Pratyahara)
Pratyahara is a detaching of the mind from the
sense-organs. The word means “gathering towards”.
It checks the outgoing powers of the mind and turns
them inwards. It is a gathering in and integration of
the previously scattered mental energies. In Pratyahara
one frees oneself from the thraldom of the sense-organs.
“When the senses have withdrawn from their
objects and transmuted themselves into the modes of
consciousness, this is called ‘the Withdrawal’, Praty-
ahara” {Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjah 2, 54).
“The adept in yoga gives himself up to ‘With-
drawal’ and stops the traffic of the senses with their
objects which are word, sight, etc., to which they are
invariably attached. He then makes his senses work for
his Consciousness and the ever-agitated senses are
controlled. No yogi can achieve the aim of yoga
without controUing the senses.”
(Vishnu Purana).
The external world is shut out in Yoga meditation.
This detaching from the sense-organs all of us do every
day. As I type this sentence, for example, I am con-
scious only of the idea I wish to express and of the
letters tumbling quickly on to the page. Yet now, at
the end of it, I can pause and be conscious of so much
more. The feel of the chair supporting me, the flicker-
ing of the fire whose heat reaches out across the room
towards me, birds chirping on the roof-tops outside
the house, and so on. To get things done in life we must
select our sense impressions, for we are being bom-
barded by a multiplicity of them every day. We may
not be conscious of the ticking of a clock until it stops,
then we instantly notice the fact.
The sense-organs themselves are merely the
“middle men” between the external world and con-
sciousness. The eyes, for example, do not see in
themselves, but are merely the instrument of con-
sciousness. The real organ of vision is in a nerve centre
of the brain. A man may be asleep with his eyes open.

yet seeing nothing. Pictures are striking the retinae of

his eyes, but the man will not be aware of them,
because he is not ‘at home’ in consciousness to do so.
Under hypnosis a person’s sense-organs can come
completely under the control of the hypnotist. He
will tell his subject that his arm feels nothing, and true
enough, when a match flame is held to it, nothing is
felt. He will tell his subject that a piece of raw potato
he is eating is a peach, and the distinct flavour of a
peach is experienced. He can open the subject’s eyes
and make him see whatever he wishes him to see.
Vivekananda, in his Raja Yoga, warns against allow-
ing one’s mind to become controlled by others.
Sense-Withdrawal is something which you must do
for yourself, your “I” must be in complete control.
Vivekananda says: “the faith-healers teach people to
deny misery and pain and evil. Their philosophy is
rather roundabout; but it is a part of Yoga upon which
they have somehow stumbled. Where they succeed
in making a person throw off suffering by denying it,
they really use a part of Pratyahara, as they make the
mind of the person strong enough to ignore the senses.
The hypnotists in a similar manner, by their suggestion,
excite in the patient a sort of morbid Pratyahara for
the time being. The so-called hypnotic suggestion
can only act upon a weak mind. And until the opera-
tor, by means of fixed gaze or otherwise, has succeeded
in putting the mind of the subject in a sort of passive,
morbid condition, his suggestions never work.
“Now the control of the centres which is estab-
lished in a hypnotic patient or the patient of faith-
healing, by the operator, for a time is reprehensible,
because it leads to ultimate ruin. It is not really con-
trolling the brain centres by the power of one’s own
wiU, but is, as it were, stunning the patient’s mind
for a time by sudden blows which another’s will
delivers to it. It is not checking by means of reins and
muscular strength the mad career of a fiery team, but
rather by asking another to deHver heavy blows on
the heads of the horses, to stun them for a time into
gentleness. . . .
“Every attempt at control which is not voluntary,
not with the controller’s own mind, is not only dis-
astrous, but it defeats the end. The goal of each soul
is freedom, mastery: freedom from the slavery of
matter and thought, mastery of external and internal
nature. Instead of leading towards that, every will-
current from another, in whatever form it comes,
either as direct control of organs, or as forcing to
control them while under a morbid condition, only
rivets one link more to the already existing heavy chain
of bondage of past thoughts, past superstitions. There-
fore, beware how you allow yourselves to be acted
upon by others.”
Raja Yoga does not teach morbid introspection or
useless day-dreaming. There is all the difference in
the world between these two states and Pratyahara,
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. If a person finds on
meditating that he has dozed off or slipped into in-
voluntary reverie, then he should know that he is

performing the exercises incorrectly and must bring

the wayward attention back to its task. The Raja
Yoga mental states are positive and alert.

Pratyahara should be aided by quiet breathing.
When we are agitated our breathing is fast and Jerky,
but if we breathe quietly and evenly tranquilHty of
mind is promoted. At first you will have to do this
dehberately. As you sit motionless in a meditative
posture, inhale and exhale slowly through the nose.
Let the inhalations and exhalations be long and
controlled throughout. This form of breathing during
meditation will become a habit; you will no longer
be conscious of it, just as you should not be conscious
of your seated body.

Thought Observation and Control

The Yogi seeks to gain control over his thoughts.
He seeks the power to select those he considers to be
of value and to banish the rest.
People who may be very fussy about what they eat
will think nothing of allowing harmful thoughts to
dominate their minds.
Mason wrote: “On the whole, it is of as great
importance for a man to take heed what thoughts he
entertains, as what company he keeps; for they have
the same effect on the mind. Bad thoughts are as
infectious as bad company; and good thoughts solace,
instruct and entertain the mind, like good company.
And this is one great advantage of retirement, that a
man may choose what company he pleases from within
himself. ... As in the world we oftener light into
bad company than good, so in solitude we are oftener
troubled with impertinent and unprofitable thoughts,
than entertained with agreeable and useful ones: and
a man that hath so far lost command of himself, as to
lie at the mercy of every foolish or vexing thought, is
much in the same situation as a host whose house is
open to all comers; whom, though ever so noisy,
rude, or troublesome, he cannot get rid of; but with
this difference, that the latter hath some recompense
for his trouble, the former none at all, but is robbed
of his peace and quiet for nothing.”
Resolve now that your mind will no longer be open
to all comers, that you will cease to be the slave of
your thoughts and desires.
Most of the thoughts that crowd our minds so
persistently every day are useless. Each day try and
cut down their number. There is no need for excessive
will-power to do this, indeed it will only defeat our
purpose. As with a wild horse, the mind can only be
tamed by gentleness and patience.
Comfortably dressed, in peaceful surroundings, seat
yourself in a steady, relaxed posture, and breathe
quietly and evenly. Sit perfectly still and try to cut off
all sense impressions from without. This is Pratyahara.
Wrap yourself as it were in a blanket of silence.
Turn your attention inwards instead of outwards.
Allow your thoughts to nm through the mind as

they please. Now observe them attentively. See how

they pass in a never-ending stream. See how one
thought leads to another, linked by association.
Be content with mere observation for a while.
Feel yourself as a detached “I” observing your own
thoughts just as if they are your fingers or toes or
some other parts of the body. As they flow steadily
past observe the uselessness of most of them, also their
waywardness and lack of unity.
After a while, begin to lessen their number. Do not
expect to make a big reduction at once. Do not expect
to turn off the mind like an electric Hght at the touch
of a switch. It just cannot be done ... at first. Years
of practice are required to still the mind to any great
degree. Each meditation period try to have a few
thoughts less. Even one thought less is a victory gained.
You will observe how successive thoughts are
linked by association so that they follow immediately
on the other. Separate two thoughts—even for a split
second—and you will have a momentary glimpse of
the inner stillness that is your goal.
Reducing the number of thoughts in this way gives
control and self-mastery. It develops mind power.
And thought-reducing practice should not be just for
your daily meditation period or periods. Be vigilant.
If at any time during the day you catch your-
self entertaining worthless thoughts push them
It will be something of a shock to many readers to
observe to what extent their minds are their masters

rather than their servants. But persist with the medi-

tation. Keep on bringing the wayward mind back to
its tasks. The mind that has become used to its chaotic
freedom does not take kindly to discipline.

The Quest for the Self

Yoga meditation is designed so that the meditator
may uncover his real or Self. It does not require
much self-observation to see that we have a multi-
plicity of‘I’s”, each, as Ouspensky says, ‘‘seeking to
3e Cahph for an hour”. One “I” makes a New Year
resolution, another “I” breaks it before a week has
passed. One “I” exists at the office, another in the
home, a third on the golf-course, and so on.
Yet behind all these “fs” is the central “I”, pure
consciousness, an objective centre of gravity, from
which our body, our emotions, and our very thoughts
themselves, can be observed. Man, as far as we know,
is the only living thing capable of this level of con-
sciousness. The body, the feelings, the intellect itself,
can be set aside as “not I” things.
“Pursue the enquiry ‘Who am I?’ relentlessly,”
advised an Indian guru, Sri Ramana Maharshi.
“Analyse your entire personality. Try to find out
where the I—thought begins. Go on with your medi-
tations. Keep turning your attention within. One day
the wheel of thought will slow down and an intuition
will mysteriously arise. Follow that intuition, let your
thinking stop and it will eventually lead you to the

We have already seen that, involuntarily by hy^

nosis, voluntarily by Pratyahara, the sense-organs
can be cut off from their centres of consciousness.
A burning match applied to the back of the hand of a
hypnotized person may not be felt. Some Yogis detach
themselves to such an extent from their bodies that
they can be buried alive, drink poison, or walk
through fire, without coming to any harm. Such
exhibitionistic fanaticism is deplored by genuine
Yogis, but it does show the extent to which the body
ceases to count with a person who is firmly established
in the Self. Such a person does not feel cold or heat,
pain or pleasure.
Similarly we can learn to detach ourselves from the
negative emotions: anger, envy, jealousy, unjustified
fear, etc. In man’s early quest for survival these
emotions served a Hfe-preserving purpose, but in
present-day civilized life they are in the main repressed
and harmful to health and peace of mind. Anger, for
example, floods the bloodstream with chemicals which
mobilize the body for fight. But, except in war, one
can no longer expect to destroy one’s enemies physic-
ally. Also anger brushes aside reason and makes us act
in ways that we may regret later. Efficient living is
impossible without emotional control, and Yoga
promotes just such a mastery.
Just as we can observe both body and emotions
as “not I” things, so the thought-observation exer-
cises described earHer in this chapter will enable
you to experience the intellect as an instrument

of the Self, and the instrument of your conscious

The non-Self is the body, senses, mind. That which
perceives the non-Sclf is the real Self.
“The Purusha, no bigger than a thumb, is the inner
Self, ever seated in the heart of man. He is known by
the mind, which controls knowledge, and is perceived
in the heart. They who know Him become im-
mortal. . . .
“His hands and feet are everywhere; His eyes, heads,
and faces are everywhere; His ears are everywhere;
He exists compassing all.
“Himself devoid of senses. He shines tlirough the
functions of the senses. He is the capable ruler of all;
He is the refuge of all; He is great. . . .
“The Self, smaller than the small, greater than the
great, is hidden in the hearts of creatures. The wise,
by the grace of the creator, behold the Lord, majestic
and desireless, and become free from grief.”
[Svetasvatara Upanishad, III, 13, 16, 17, 20).
Having uncovered the Self, the Yogi then seeks to
experience its union with the universal Overself


“To maintain the mind fixed on one spot is called

concentration'’ {Aphorisms of PatanjaH, 3, i).
When by Pratyahara the tyranny of the senses has
been checked, it becomes easier for the mind's energies
to be focused on one point. This action, in Yoga, is
called Dharana. Raja Yoga develops this power of
concentration to an intense degree which can lead
to psychic powers, though these powers are not its
The power of the mind is greatest when instead of
its forces being scattered they are brought together
and focused on a point. This bringing to bear of the
full weight of the intellect on a subject can result in
intuitive knowledge or revelation. The Yogis say that
many of the great Western inventors and intellectual
giants of the past hit on Raja Yoga methods by acci-
dent, or actually practised them not knowing that
they did so.
Dharana is another step on the path to Self-realiza-
tion. Yoga writers have compared the mind to the
surface of a pool, which is constantly troubled and in
motion because of the agitation of our thoughts.
If we can still this flow of thoughts and hold the mind

steady, then pure consciousness, our inner Self, will be

revealed and seen at the bottom of the pool. PatanjaH
says that Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Chitta)
from taking various forms (Vrittis). The Chitta can
be compared to the surface waters of a pool, and the
Vrittis are the thought waves that cross it.

Aid to Successful Living

The ability to concentrate sharply to bring all your
attention to the task in hand or the object of study, is
one of the greatest keys to successful Hving. The man
with highly developed powers of concentration can
get through a tremendous amount of work. He can
work with great efEciency. He can study with great
The great artist is lost in his work. All his attention
is directed towards the canvas. All his faculties are
brought to bear on the task in hand.
Concentration is one of the chief secrets of success
in games and on the sports field. Watch the star
footballer about to take a penalty kick, the master
golfer attempting a long putt, the skilled snooker-
olayer about to pot a critical black. All three will
lave one thing in common . . . intense concentration!
“Genius is concentration’’, said Schiller.
The concentrative energies of the mind will be
aided if in daily Hfe you give your full attention to
things. Most people go through Hfe in a sort ofwaking-
sleep. The Yogi gives his full attention to even the
smallest task, and at the same time manages to be very

alive and alert. This is termed in Yoga Samprajanya

or Awareness.

Concentration Exercises
The Yogi stills the mind and makes it steady by
focusing it to a point just as the rays of the sun are
captured and brought to a point of burning intensity
by means of a magnifying glass. To achieve this feat
various aids may be employed.
One of these is to focus your gaze on some object.
It is best if the object is small rather than large.
If you are meditating outdoors you may choose a
flower, a bush on a distant hill, a small, white cloud
suspended motionless m a sky of amethyst, a stone
protruding from the swirling waters of a mountain
If you are indoors you may choose an ornament,
a flower in a vase, an apple, perhaps a brightly shining
star observed in the evening from a bedroom window.
You may choose a photograph of a pleasant scene or
of a loved one, or a painting of a rehgious subject or
landscape of great beauty. You can make your own
choice and try several until you find those that most
appeal to you. PatanjaU says in one of his Sutras that
the Yogi can meditate on “anything that appeals to
one as good”.
Whatever object you choose it is best to focus the
gaze on some central point. The attention should be
directed to this spot as a torch-beam illuminates one
spot in a dark room and is rested there steadily yet
impalpably. If you use a portrait photograph, gaze
into the eyes of the person. If you use a landscape
painting, fix your gaze on a tree or some other object.
At first you will be sure to find that you cannot
keep your attention on the object for very long. The
mind will wander off into involuntary reverie.
Suddenly, perhaps minutes later, you will “wake up”
from your reverie to reahze that the object of con-
centration has been entirely neglected. You stare at
the object for a while but soon it is forgotten. You are
thinking inscead about what you will do tomorrow,
what happened that afternoon, the show you saw last
night, your job, income tax, the state of the world . . .
anything but the object of concentration. Don't get
angry with yourself. Don’t become tensed up about
it. Instead, gently coax your attention back to its
task. Great force is not required in this work. Consider-
able effort will tire you and defeat your purpose. It
is a fault if the face is screwed up and the body muscles
are tensed in concentration.
Let us see an example of Yoga concentration at
work, taking for our object something simple and
pleasant—an apple. The technique followed here has
been found by the author to give the best results.
Set the apple eighteen inches before you on the
ground, or on a low stool or table. Let it be a hand-
some apple with a smooth, well-poHshed skin. If you
can have a Hght shining on it so much the better.
Now examine the apple with all your senses. Do
this slowly, thoroughly. Study the apple’s appearance:

its size, shape, texture and colouring. See how when

you study it closely you find that it has not just one
or two colours as you thought at first, but numerous
colours. There is yellow there, and green and brown
and russet and red. There is a dent where it has fallen,
ripened by the sun, on to the lush orchard grass. Now
hft it to your face and feel its cool, smooth skin against
your cheek. Touch it lightly with your lips. Smell its
clear, fresh tang.
Then set it down again before you, keeping your
gaze focused steadily upon it. Now start thinking
about it: how it grew, how it ripened in the sun, how
it dropped from the tree, how it was packed and
despatched to the wholesaler who sold it to the shop
where you bought it.
No superfluous thoughts must be allowed to intrude
into this concentrated examination of the apple. If
they do, push then gently aside and bring the attention
back to its task.

Having exhausted all possible thoughts about the
apple, the next stage is no longer to think about the
size, shape, texture, colouring, smell, feel or history of
the apple, but to fix in the mind the single idea apple,
the essence as it were distilled from the previous few
minutes’ thought. With the eyes still fixed steadily on
the apple, hold the idea apple unwaveringly in the
mind. This is Dharana proper. Hold it for some time
and you will attain the next Yoga limb, Dhyana, which
if maintained for several minutes can lead to Samadhi,
when the perceiver and the thing perceived have
become one.
When the mind’s energies are focused on a selected
point and held there, so that but one thought wave,
steady and straight, disturbs the surface of the mind-
stuff (Chitta), this is called Contemplation (Dhyana).
When Contemplation is maintained for some time,
even this one remaining wave fades away and the
untroubled, mindless superconscious state of Samadhi

Up to now we have been dealing with Dharana
practised with the eyes open so as to fix the gaze on
some object; later you should concentrate with the
eyes closed. This banishes external sense-impressions,
making Pratyahara and the one-pointing of the mind
easier. The object should then be held before the
mind’s eye.
Most people can with a little practice acquire the
necessary powers of visualization. We each possess
within us a private mental cinema on whose screens
we project our hopes, fears and memories. Without
haviug to travel to a well-loved beauty spot, and
without spending a single penny, a person with
strongly developed powers of visuaUzation is able to
transport himself to that place and see it clearly before
his inner eye. He can see it in detail and in colour, and
if his imagination is lively he will hear the sounds

appropriate to the scene, the singing of birds or the

sound of the wind or the sea.
The development of such powers of visuahzation
is well worthwhile, apart from its use in Raja Yoga. It
means you can store up a private collection of pictures
which can be enjoyed at any time. Scenes of great
beauty which you witnessed on your hohdays, the
look on the face of a child or a loved one . .. aU these
need not be lost in the maw of devouring time, but
captured and filed away in your mental projection
room for the rest of your life.
Still using an apple for our example as the object
of concentration, the meditator may study it intently
for a while, then close his eyes and still picture the
apple, clearly showing behind the closed hds. After
some practice at this the actual apple may be dis-
pensed with and only its inner reflection used. The
same apphes to any other objects you may use for
The devout Christian may wish to concentrate on
a vision of Lord Jesus or the Virgin Mary, the devout
Hindu on the face of Lord Krishna, and so on.
Many Yogis fix their inner gaze on the space
between the eyebrows, or some other part of the body.
In the Bhagavad-Gita we find:
“Shutting out the external contact with sense-
objects, the eyes fixed between the eyebrows, and
equalizing the currents of Prana (incoming breath)
and Apana (the outgoing breath) inside the nostrils,
the meditative man, having mastered the senses, mind
and intellect, being freed from desire, fear and anger,
and regarding freedom as his supreme goal, is hberated
In Dharana, consciousness can be directed to any
part of the body. If you think of a spot on the palm of
your hand and concentrate intensely on it for some
time, it will begin to redden and bum just as if the rays
of the sun were being focused there by a magnifying
glass. The powers of the mind are developed to such
an extent by adepts that even the sympathetic nervous
system comes under the control of the will. They can
control the beating of the heart, for example. This has
been authentically proved many times. The advanced
Yogi is able to direct his consciousness to any part of
his body, external or internal, and hold it there.

The Mystic Sounds (Nadas)

Sounds also may be used to hold the attention. You
can concentrate on the ticking of a watch in a quiet
room; or, if outdoors, you can close your eyes and
hsten to the sound of a waterfall or stream.
Some gurus instruct their pupils in the art of con-
centrating on inner sounds (nadas). The ears are closed
with the fingers and the attention is focused on the
sounds to be heard. By practice the mind is able to
hold on to the finer and subtler sounds, until eventu-
ally liberation is achieved.
Here is the Hatha Yoga Pradipikas instruch:ions on
Hstening to the nadas:
“The sound which a muni (sage) hears by closing
his ears with his fingers should be heard attentively,
till the mind becomes steady in it. By practising with
this nada, all other external sounds are stopped. The
Yogi becomes happy by overcoming all distractions
within fifteen days. In the beginning, the sounds
heard are of a great variety and very loud; but as the
practice increases, they become more and more
subtle. In the first stage, the sounds are surging,
thundering like the beating of kettledrums, and
jingling ones. In the intermediate stage, they are like
those produced by conch, Mridanga, bells, etc. In the
last stage, the sounds resemble those from tinJdets,
flute, Vina, bee, etc. These various kinds of sounds
are heard as being produced in the body. Though
hearing loud sounds like those of thunder, kettle-
drums, etc., one should try to get in touch with
subtler sounds only. Leaving the loudest, taking up
the subtle one, and leaving the subtle one, taking up
the loudest, thus practising, the distracted mind does
not wander elsewhere.
^‘wherever the mind attaches itself first, it becomes
steady there; and then it becomes absorbed in it.
Just as a bee, drinking sweet juice, does not care for
the smell of the flower; so the mind, absorbed in the
nada, does not desire the object of enjoyment. The
mind, like an elephant, habituated to wander in the
garden of enjoyments, is capable of being controlled
by the sharp goad of anahata nada (heart sound). The
mind, captivated in the snare of nada, gives up all its
activity; and, like a bird with clipped wings, becomes
calm at once. Those desirous of the kingdom of Yoga,
should take up the practice of hearing the anahata
nada, with mind collected and free from all cares.’’

Contemplation of the Void

This is described by the Siva Samhita as a practice
sure to bring Self-realization.
“Let him (the Yogi) contemplate on his own reflec-
tion in the sky as beyond the Cosmic Egg: in the
manner previously described. Through that let him
think on the Great Void unceasingly. The Great Void,
whose beginning is void, whose middle is void, whose
end is void, has brilliancy of tens of millions of suns,
and the coolness of tens of millions of moons. By
contemplating continually on this, one obtains success.
Let him practise with energy daily this dhyana, within
a year he shall obtain all success undoubtedly. He whose
mind is absorbed in that place even for a second, is
certainly a Yogi, and a good devotee, and is revered in
all worlds. All his stores of sins are at once verily
destroyed. By seeing it one never returns to the path
of this mortal universe; let the Yogi, therefore,
practise this with great care by the path of Svadhish-
thana. I cannot describe the grandeur of this contem-
plation. He who practises, knows.”

Contemplation of the Inner Light

Patanjah gives as one of the things to be meditated
upon, “The Effulgent Light”.
In Samadhi a great white light may be seen, the
colourless light of pure consciousness. Sitting in a
meditative posture, perfectly still, with eyes closed
and senses withdrawn, the Yogi may concentrate
until perceiving a small point of hght before the
mind’s eye. By concentrating the mind’s energies on
it, it will grow imtil he becomes filled with it and
Superconsciousness occurs.

A Tibetan Technique
Some Yogis use a meditative technique in. which
the mental image of a flower, tree or person is held
for a time, then gradually demolished, bit by bit,
until only a clear hght remains. This technique is
described in The Tibetan Book of the Deaf edited by
“Whosoever thy tutelary deity may be, meditate
upon the form for much time—as being apparent,
yet non-existent in reaHty, like a form produced by a
magician . . . Then let the vision of the tutelary deity
melt away from the extremities, imtil nothing at all
remaineth visible of it; and put thyself in the state of
the Clearness and the Voidness—^which thou canst
not conceive as something—and abide in that state for
a Httle while. Again meditate upon the tutelary deity;
again meditate upon the Clear Light; do this alter-
nately. Afterwards allow thine own intellect to melt
away gradually, beginning from the extremities.”

Blotting out the Ego

A similar technique requires the meditator to feel
his closed eyes and his head to be filled with foaming
water. Next he must meditate on his body from the
throat to the stomach, filling it with imaginary water.
Then he mentally fills all of his body, including the
arms and legs, with cool water, the colour of glass.
After he has filled all of himself with pure water, he
should imagine that the room too is filled with it.
When this has been clearly experienced, he must
gradually drain away the water, reversing the previous
process. That is to say, he drains the water from the
room slowly and steadily until none remains between
ceiling and floor; then from his arms, legs and stomach;
next from his chest and throat; finally from his head
and eyes. In this way the false Ego vanishes.

A Worldi of Diamonds
In yet another method to achieve withdrawal and
onepointedness, the meditator imagines that he has a
diamond in each ear, and a canopy of diamonds about
his head, and that all his surroundings, whether out-
doors or indoors, have been turned into diamonds
(or crystal), bright, pure, clear and shutting out all

In Mantra Yoga the mind is concentrated by means
of Japa, the repetition of sacred syllables, words and
prayers (mantras). The Japa may be voiced (vachika),
whispered (upanshu), or mental (manasa), the last
being considered the highest.
The sacred syllable OM (AUM) is considered the
finest mantra. The Upanishads describe it as being a
symbol of the whole universe and “all that is past,
present, and future . . . and whatever else there is,
beyond the threefold division of time.’’
“Meditate on Atman as AUM” ; “AUM, this
word, is Brahman.” Taittirya Upanishad,
Aum is considered to be the basis of all sound—
the a is formed far back in the throat, the u carries the
tone forward, and the word leaves the mouth from
the closed vibrating lips. Its vibrations are said to be
beneficial to health and the disciplining of the mind.
Other mantras frequently used are Soham (He is I),
and Hansah (I am He).


The last three limbs of Yoga—Dharana, Dhyana,
and Samadhi—practised together with regard to one
object, are called Samyama. By making Samyama on
various things intuition and advanced psychic powers
are claimed by Yoga. Patanjali gives thirty-seven of
these—expressed in symbolical language—but warns
that these powers, if taken up for worldly ends, are
dangerous and obstacles to Self-reahzation. The
acquisition of psychic powers could so easily intensify
Egoism, whereas the Yogi seeks to annihilate it.
The third part of Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms is
given to special powers resulting from the apphcation
of Samyama to certain things. I give them here in
Vivekananda’s translation, but without his commen-
taries. Readers wishing to go further into this subject
should therefore obtain Vivekananda’s book, or
some of the other translations and commentaries.

The Thirty-Seven Psychic Powers

(i). By making Samyana on the three sorts of
changes (form, time, and state) comes the knowledge
of past and future.
(2) . By making Samyama on word, meaning, and
knowledge, which are ordinarily confused, comes the
knowledge of all animal sounds.
(3) . By perceiving the impressions, (comes) the
knowledge of past Hfe.
(4) . By making Samyama on the signs in another’s
body, knowledge of his mind comes.
(5) . But not its contents, that not being the object
of the Samyama.
(6) . By making Samyama on the form of the body,
the perceptibihty of the form being obstructed, and
the power of manifestation in the eye being separated,
the Yogi’s body becomes unseen.
(7) . By this the disappearance or concealment of
words which are being spoken, and such other things,
are also explained.
(8) . Karma is of two kinds, soon to be fructified,
and late to be fructified. By making Samyama on
these, or by the signs called Arishta, portents, the
Yogis know the exact time of separation from their
(9) . By making Samyama on fnendship, mercy,
etc., the Yogi excels in the respective quahties.
(10) . By making Samyama on the strength of the
elephant and others, their respective strength comes
to the Yogi.
(11) . By making Samyama on the Effulgent Light
comes the knowledge of the fine, the obstructed,
and the remote.
(12) . By making Samyama on the sun, (comes) the
knowledge of the world.
(13) . On the moon, (comes) the knowledge of the
cluster of stars.
(14) . On the pole-star, (comes) the knowledge of
the motions of the stars.
(15) . On the navel circle, (comes) the knowledge
of the constitution of the body.
(16) . On the hollow of the throat, (comes) cessation
of hunger.
(17) . On the nerve called Kurma, (comes) fixity of
the body.
(18) . On the light emanating from the top of the
head, sight of the Siddhas.
(19) . Or by the power of Pratibha, all knowledge.
(20) . In the heart, knowledge of minds.
(21) . Enjoyment comes by the non-discrimination
of the soul and Sattva which are totally different.
The latter whose actions are for another is separate
from the self-centred one. Samyama on the self-
centred one gives knowledge of the Purusha.
(22) . From that arises the knowledge belonging to
Pratibha and (supernatural) hearing, touching, seeing,
tasting, and smelling.
Here Patanjali interjects a warning :
These are obstacles to Samadhi: but they are powers
in the worldly state.
(23) . When the cause of bondage of the Chitta
has become loosened, the Yogi, by his knowledge
of its channels of activity (the nerves), enters another’s

(24) . By conquering the current called Udana the

Yogi does not sink in water, in swamps, he can walk
on thorns, etc., and can die at will.
(25) . By the conquest of the current Samana he is
surrounded by a blaze of hght.
(26) . By making Samyama on the relation between
the ear and the Akasha (ether) comes divine hearing.
(27) . By making Samyama on the relation between
the Akasha and the body and becoming light as
cotton, wool, etc., through meditation on them,
the Yogi goes through the skies.
(28) . By making Samyama on the “real modifica-
tions” of the mind, outside of the body, called great
disembodiedness, comes disappearance of the covering
to light.
(29) . By making Samyama on the gross and fine
forms of the elements, their essential traits, the inher-
ence of the Gunas in them and on their contributing
to the experience of the soul, comes mastery of the
(30) . From that comes minuteness, and the rest of
the powers, “glorification of the body”, and indes-
tructibleness of the bodily quahties.
The “glorification of the body” is beauty, com-
plexion, strength, adamantine hardness.
Minuteness and the rest of the powers here re-
ferred to are the eight attainments, said also to result
from the Hatha Yoga practice of Pranayama. They

(1) . Anima. To become as small as an atom.

(2) . Mahima. To become very large.
(3) . Laghima. To become very light.
(4) . Garima. To become very heavy.
(5) . Prapti. To be able to go anywhere.
(6) . Prakamya. To have one’s desires fulfilled.
(7) . Vashitva. To control all nature.
(8) . Ishitva. To possess the power to create.

(31) . By making Samyama on the objectivity and

power of illumination of the organs, on egoism, the
inherence of the Gunas in them, and on their contri-
buting to the experience of the soul, comes the
conquest of the organs.
(32) . From that comes to the body the power and
rapid movement like the mind, power of the organs
independently of the body, and the conquest of nature.
(33) . By making Samyama on the discrimination
between the Sattva and the Purusha come omnipo-
tence and omniscience.
(34) . By giving up even these powers comes the
destruction of the very seed of evil, which leads to
Kaivalya (isolation).
(3 5). By making Samyama on a particle of time and
its precession and succession comes discrimination.
(36). The saving knowledge is that knowledge of
discrimination which simultaneously covers all objects,
in all their variations.

(37)‘ By the similarity of purity between the Sattva

and the Purusha comes Kaivalya.
In Chapter I, 35 of his Yoga Aphorisms PatanjaU
says: “Those forms of concentration that bring
extraordinary sense-perceptions cause perseverance of
the mind.”
And Vivekananda comments:
“This naturally comes with Dharana, concentra-
tion; the Yogis say, if the mind becomes concentrated
on the tip of the nose, one begins to smell, after a
few days, wonderful perfumes. If it becomes concen-
trated at the root of the tongue, one begins to hear
sounds; if on the tip of the tongue, one begins to taste
wonderful flavours; if on the middle of the tongue,
one feels as if he were coming in contact with
something. If one concentrates his mind on the
palate he begins to see pecuHar things. If a man
whose mind is disturbed wants to take up some of
these practices of Yoga, yet doubts the truth of
them, he will have his doubts set at rest when, after
a little practice, these things come to him, and he will
Compare this with the Siva Samhita:
“Let the Yogi seat himself in the Padmasana and
fix his attention on the cavity of the throat, let him
place his tongue at the base of the palate; by this he
will extinguish hxmger and thirst. Below the cavity of
the throat, there is a beautiful Nadi (vessel) called
Kurma; when the Yogi fixes his attention on it, he
acquires great concentration of the thinking principle.
When the Yogi constantly thinks that he has got a
third eye—the eye of Siva—in the middle of his
forehead, he then perceives a fire brilliant like light-
ning. By contemplating on this light, all sins are
destroyed, and even the most wicked person obtains
the highest end. If the experienced Yogi thinks of
this light day and night he sees Siddhas (adepts), and
can certainly converse with them. He who contem-
plates on Simya (the void), while walking or standing,
dreaming or waking, becomes altogether ethereal and
is absorbed in the Chid Akasa. The Yogi, desirous of
success, should always obtain this knowledge; by
habitual exercise he becomes equal to me; through the
force of this knowledge he becomes the beloved of all.
Having conquered all the elements and being void of
all hopes and worldly connections, when the Yogi
sitting in the Padmasana, fixes his gaze on the tip of
his nose, his mind becomes dead and he obtains the
spiritual power called Kdiecari. The great Yogi
beholds hght, pure as holy mountain, and through
the force of his exercise in it, he becomes the lord
and guardian of the hght. Stretching himself on the
ground, let him contemplate on this hght; by so doing
all his weariness and fatigue are destroyed. By con-
templating on the back part of his head, he becomes
the conqueror of death.’’

Kundalini Yoga
The Laya (Latent) School of Yoga, by concentrating
on seven main centres, or chakras, situated between
the base of the spine and the brain, attain supercon-
sciousness by arousing what is symbolically termed
“the coiled serpent” Kundalini, said to be asleep in the
first or root centre at the base of the spine. It is de-
scribed by some writers as electricity, a negative pole
being freed and racing up to unite with the positive
pole in the brain. This power when aroused, can be
passed up the centre of the spine, from chakra to
chakra, until it reaches the top of the head, when
superconsciousness is achieved. Great psychic powers
are said to result from this Yoga, but readers should
be warned that it could be dangerous unless practised
under a guru or Yoga master.
The Kundalini passes upwards through a channel
situated in the centre of the spine and called the
Sushumna-Nadi. Two other Nadi run alongside it,
the negative Ida-Nudi on its left, and the positive
Pingala-Nadi on its right. Investigators state that the
Yoga chakras are approximate with centres of bunched
nerve gangUa in the body; others approximate the
chakras with the chief bodily glands. The Yogis have
named each centre and the awakening of Kundalini
is assisted by visuaHzing the chakras as coloured
lotus flowers.


(i). The Root Centre (Muladhara). Situated just

above the anus, at the very base of the spine. It is here
that the coiled energy Ues sleeping.
(2) . The Support of the Life Breath Centre (Svad-
hishthana). Situated in the genital area.
(3) . The Jewel City Centre (Manipura). Situated
in the region of the navel.
(4) . The Unstruck Sound Centre (Anahata). Situ-
ated in the heart,
(5) . The Great Purity Centre (Vishuddha). Situ-
ated in the throat.
(6) . The Command Centre (Ajna). Situated in the
middle of the brow.
(7) . The Thousand Petalled Lotus Centre (Sahas-
rara). At the crown of the skull. The centre of Self-
There are several secondary chakras: Lalana,
situated between the Vishuddha and Ajna centres;
Brahmarandhra, situated just above the Ajna centre;
Manas, close to the Ajna centre; Soma, just above the
Manas chakra; Karanarupa, a group of “seven casual
forms” situated near the Ajna centre; and Manipitha,
situated above the “seven casual forms”.


Samadhi: With and Without Seed

“When alone the object of contemplation remains
and one’s own form is annihilated, this is known as
Samadhi” {Aphorisms of Patanjah 3, 3).
There are two stages of Samadhi, described as
with-seed and the seedless. The second stage comes
when even the idea of control is absent, having faded
away. If we think of our mind as a pool and of
thoughts as the waves that cross its surface, then
Dharana reduces aU waves to a single one; Dhyana
maintains it fixed for some minutes at a stretch, and
with Samadhi with-seed the wave is reduced to the
gentle one that is the thought of control itself. When
even this wave fades away, advanced Samadhi has been
Vivekananda explains it:
“You remember that our goal is to perceive the
Soul Itself. We cannot perceive the Soul because It
has got mingled up with nature, with the mind, with
the body. The ignorant man thinks his body is the
Soul. The learned man thinks his mind is the Soul;
but both of them are mistaken. What makes the Soul
get mingled up with all this? Different waves in the
Chitta rise and cover the Soul; we only see a little
reflection of the Soul through these waves. So, if
the wave is one of anger, we see the Soul as angry;
‘I am angry,’ one says. If it is one of love, we see
ourselves reflected in that wave, and say we are loving.
If that wave is one of weakness, and the Soul is
reflected in it, we think we are weak. These various
ideas come from these impressions, these Samskaras
covering the Sold. The real nature of the Soul is not
perceived as long as there is one single wave in the
lake of the Chitta; this real nature will never be
perceived until all the waves have subsided; so, first,
PatanjaU teaches us the meaning of these waves;
secondly, the best way to repress them; and thirdly,
how to make one wave so strong as to suppress all
other waves, fire eating fire as it were. When only
one remains, it will be easy to suppress that also; and
when that is gone, this Samadhi or concentration is
called seedless. It leaves nothing, and the Soul is
manifested just as It is, in Its own glory.”
Later (in Raja Yoga) he says:
. . in this first state of Samadhi (Samadhi with
seed) the modifications of the mind have been con-
trolled, but not perfectly, because if they were, there
would be no modifications. If there is a modification
which impels the mind to rush out through the
senses, and the Yogi tries to control it, that very control
itself will be a modification. One wave will be
checked by another wave, so it will not be real
Samadhi, in which all the waves subside, as control

itself will be a wave. Yet this lower Samadhi is very

much nearer to the higher Samadhi than when the
mind comes bubbling out.”
This same distinction is found in Zen-Buddhist
meditation, where you have the two stages of “present-
heart ” (Ushin) and “no-heart” (Muslim), heart here
meaning consciousness.
The Zen-Buddhist, Daisetz Suzuki says :
“If you are possessed by certain thoughts, then
your heart is to that extent closed to other thoughts.
If you are occupied, then you can neither hear nor see
anything, but if you keep your heart empty, that is to
say open, then you can take in everything which
approaches you—^that is what is called Mushin. If,
however, you are only concerned with keeping your
heart empty, this very condition of your heart will
prevent you from realizing Mushin or the original
heart. Herein hes the difBculty of attaining the state
of no-heart. But when your practising reaches
maturity it comes about of its ovm accord. You
cannot hasten this state of Mushin. As an old poem
has it: ‘Being mindful of not-thinking is thinking
nevertheless. O that I were now beyond thinking
and non-thinking.’ ”

Samadhi: Its Nature

To the Yogi the Postures (Asanas), Breathing
Exercises (Pranayama), Sense-withdrawal (Pratyahara)
Concentration (Dharana), and Contemplation (Dhy-
ana) are but steps in a journey up a mountainside.
Raja Yoga provided the filial moves to the pinnacle
of supreme bliss . . . Samadhi.
What is this Samadhi so earnestly sought?
It is given many names: Union, Integration,
Identification, Liberation, Superconsciousness, Self-
reahzation. It is an inner peace in whose radiance one
can bask. It is above and beyond the senses. Words,
therefore, cannot adequately describe it. It must be
At the point where Samadhi is reached the
Ego ceases to exist. All sense of “I” and “mine-
ness” is banished. It is a hberation from the
tyranny of desires, fears, worries, persons, places
and things.
Note this description of Ramakrishna attaining the
culminating stage of Norvikalpa Samadhi: “The
Universe was extinguished. Space itself was no more.
At first the shadows of ideas floated in the obscure
depths of the mind. Monotonously a feeble conscious-
ness of the Ego went on ticking. Then that stopped
too. Nothing remained but existence. The soul was
lost in Self. Duahsm was blotted out. Finite and
infinite space were as one. Beyond word, beyond
thought, he attained Brahman.’’
You will appreciate this better if you think of those
moments in your Hfe when you experienced the
most sublime happiness. Am I not right in thinking
that they were those moments when the Ego was
annihilated, when you were “carried out of yourself”
by an emotional experience, the sight of a glorious
sunset or landscape, the sound of glorious music, a
moment of truth?
The poet Tennyson spoke of: “A kind of waking
trance I have frequently had, quite up from boyhood,
when I have been all alone. This has generally come
upon me through repeating my own name two or
three times to myself, silently, till all at once, as it
were, out of the intensity of consciousness of indivi-
duahty, the individuahty itself seemed to fade away
into boundless being, and this not a confused state,
but the clearest of the clearest, the surest of the surest,
utterly beyond words, where death was almost a
laughable impossibiUty, the loss of personahty (if so
it were) seeming no extinction but the only true life
. . . I am ashamed of my feeble description. Have I
not said that the state is beyond words?’’
Those readers who have cultivated a love of beauti-
ful things will understand what is meant. Those who
appreciate good music will understand what is meant.
Perhaps in the language of music and the arts the
voice of Superconsciousness can be heard. J. W. N.
SuUivan stated that great composers like Beethoven
were able in their music “to communicate valuable
spiritual states which testify to the depth of the
artist’s nature and to the quahty of his experience
of Hfe.”
Music can elevate the spirit and blot out the Ego.
Observe an audience held spell-bound by great music.
Note how still they are, how relaxed, how steady their
gaze on conductor, singer or performer.
Music lovers will know that there is often exper-
ienced a sudden upsurge of elation at certain moments
in their favourite works.
Often when I have the house to myself I switch off
all lights, make myself comfortable before the fire
in a meditative posture, and play some records.
One of my favourites is “Death of a Novice” (La
Mort De L’Escola), sung imaccompanied in Catalan
by the Orfeo Catala de Barcelona.
In this amazing record the voices range from the
purest boy-soprano to the most profound and deepest
of bassos. These latter imitate the tolling of the
funeral bell.
There is a point near the end of the work when the
voices are suddenly quiet. There is a pause, a silence,
then a boy-soprano commences to sing in a voice of
pure silver, a shaft of radiant Hght that suddenly stabs
into the semi-darkness of the cathedral.
At that moment I always experience a rapid out-
going of fear, desire, worry and egoism, with a
resultant relaxation and inrush of an ineffable peace.
There is Samadhi—perhaps only for a second—but a
second of such richness as to be beyond time or
With Samadhi we enter a region of feeling, of being,
where attempts at description in the rational terms
of our language must necessarily be inadequate.
We have the evidence of those who have experienced
it that it is “beyond words”. Nevertheless C. F. Morel
makes a praiseworthy attempt at an explanation in

rational terms: “Consciousness is . . . something

intensely mobile. When the exterior world has dis-
appeared, the circle of consciousness contracts and
seems to withdraw entirely into some unknown and
usually ignored cortical centre. Consciousness seems
to gather itself together, to confine itself within some
unknown psychic pineal gland and to withdraw into
a kind of centre wherein all organic functions and all
psychic forces meet, and there it enjoys unity.’' And
Theos Bernard assures us that it “is not an imaginary
or mythical state, though it is explained by myths,
but is an actual condition that can be subjectively
experienced and objectively observed.”
Mouni Sadhu, in his In Days of Great Peace, (Allen
and Unwin Ltd.), says that Samadhi has three phases:
''The First—^when we feel it is approaching. In
this state we can still move and talk as usual. We can
compare it to early twihght before sunrise.
"The Second can be compared to the midday when
the sun stands high in the sky. Then the mental and
physical functions decline, they become dreamy, and
reality alone, independent of all form and condition,
dawns upon and illumines our being. We then know
Who we are, we do not identify ourselves any more
with our personahties, we are above and beyond them.
We breathe freedom, bUss and wisdom.
"The Third—which comes immediately after our
‘coming back’ from Samadhi, is like the second
twihght, this time preceding ‘sunset’. We still feel in
ourselves its last rays, we still clearly remember the
light, but its vivid reality gradually fades away when
we return to our ‘normar consciousness, the ‘waking’
state. But the remembrance of Samadhi is not com-
pletely lost. We are still unable to stay in it perman-
ently, due to our imperfect spiritual development,
but henceforth we know irrefutably that this state
exists, that it is in truth, the only reality. After exper-
iencing Samadhi even once we are different beings.”
Those who have achieved mystical enlightenment
are agreed on several things: Samadhi is a positive and
not a negative state like sleep or hypnotic trance; and
it is distinguished by two features—an altered con-
ception of time, and the experiencing on a level of
being of the unity of all Hfe.

Living in the Now

When the mind is stilled by Raja Yoga, time—
that is to say, psychological time—ceases to exist. For
time is relative. It only exists when one thing is taken
in relation to another. If I go on a train journey my
leaving the train at my destination, taken in relation
to my getting in, shows a passage of time. Similarly,
if I think of “fruit”, and in a spHt second follow with
another thought “apples”, time has passed, and I am
aware of its passing. But if the mind takes one thought
and holds it, one-pointed and still, time is erased, it
ceases—psychologically—to exist.
In the hurly-burly of civihzed Hving we rarely find
time, or even give a thought to living in the NOW.
We spend our NOW in thinking of the past or
dreaming of the future. Raja Yoga enables us to be
still and experience eternity, as defined by Boethius:
“to hold and possess the whole fullness of life in one
moment, here and now, past and present and to
“No reveries, no conversations, no tracing out of
the meaning of phantasies, contain this now, which
belongs to a higher order of consciousness,” writes
Dr. Maurice Nicoll, in his Living Time and the Inte-
gration of the Life. “The time-man in us does not know
now. He is always preparing something in the future,
or busy with what happened in the past. He is always
wondering what to do, what to say, what to wear,
what to eat, etc. He anticipates; and we, following
him, come to the expected moment, arid lo, he is
already elsewhere, planning further ahead. This is
becoming—where nothing ever is. We must come to
our senses to begin to feel now. We can only feel
now by checking this time-man, who thinks of exist-
ence in his own way. NOW enters us with a sense of
something greater than passing time. NOW contains
all time, all the hfe, and the aeon of the Hfe. NOW is
the sense of higher space. It is not the decisions of the
man in time that count here, for they do not spring
from NOW. All decisions that belong to the Hfe in
time, to success, to business, comfort, are about ‘to-
morrow’. All decisions about the right thing to do,
about how to act, are about tomorrow. It is only what
is done in NOW that counts, and this is a decision
always about ONESELF and WITH oneself, even
although its effect may touch other people’s Hves
"tomorrow’. NOW is spiritual. It is a state of the
spirit, when it is above the stream of time-associations.
Spiritual values have nothing to do with time. They
are not in time, and their growth is not a matter of
time. To retain the impression of their truth we must
fight with time, with every notion that they belong
to time, and that the passage of days will increase
them. For then it will be easy for us to think it is
TOO LATE, to make the favourite excuse of passing
“The feeling of NOW is the feeling of certainty.
In NOW passing time halts, and in this halting of
time one’s understanding has power over one. One
knows, sees, feels in oneself, apart from all outer
things; and above all, one IS.. . . All insight, all
revelation, aU illumination, aU love, all that is
genuine, all that is real, lies in NOW—and in the
attempt to create now we approach the inner pre-
cincts, the hohest part of hfe. For in time all things
are seeking completion, but in now all things are

To the Yogi Samadhi is the merging of the indivi-
dual Soul or Self with the universal Soul or Overself.
In the Shiva Sanhita we find:
“As space pervades ajar both in and out, similarly
within and beyond this ever-changing universe there
exists one Universal Spirit.
“Having renounced all false desires and chains, the
sannyasi and Yogi see certainly in their own spirit
the Universal Spirit.
“Having seen the spirit that brings forth happiness
in their own spirit, they forget this universe, and
enjoy the ineffable bHss of Samadhi.”
“Thou art that.’’ One of the favourite spiritual
meditations given by gurus to their pupils is con-
tained in these three words. Their meaning is illus-
trated in this duologue from the Chandogya Upanishad:
“When Svetaketu was twelve years old he was
sent to a teacher, with whom he studied until he was
twenty-four. After learning all the Vedas, he returned
home full of conceit in the behef that he was consum-
mately well educated, and very censorious.
“His father said to him, ‘Svetaketu, my child, you
who are so full of your learning, and so censorious,
have you asked of that knowledge by which we hear
the unhearable, by which we perceive what cannot be
perceived, and know what cannot be known?’
“ ‘What is that knowledge, sir?’ asked Svetaketu.
“His father repUed, ‘As by knowing one lump of
clay all that is made of clay is known, the difference
being only in name, but the truth being that all is
clay—so, my child, is that knowledge, knowing
which we know all.’
“ ‘But surely these venerable teachers of mine are
ignorant of this knowledge; for if they possessed it
they would have imparted it to me. Do you, sir,
therefore give me that knowledge.’
“ ‘So be it/ said the father . . . And he said, ‘Bring
me a fruit of the nyagrodha tree/
Here is one, sir.
“ ‘Break it.’
“ ‘It is broken, sir.’
“ ‘What do you see there?’
“ ‘Some seeds, sir, exceedingly small.’
“ ‘Break one of these.’
“ ‘It is broken, sir.’
“ ‘What do you see there?’
“ ‘Nothing at all.’
“The father said, ‘My son, that subtle essence
which you do not perceive there—in that very essence
stands the being of the huge nyagrodha tree. In that
which is the subtle essence all that exists has its self.
That is the True, that is the Self, and thou, Svetaketu,
art That.’
“ ‘Pray, sir,’ said the son, ‘tell me more.’
“ ‘Be it so, my child,’ the father rephed; and he
said, ‘Place this salt in water, and come to me to-
morrow morning.’
“The son did as he was told.
“Next morning, the father said, ‘Bring me the salt
which you put in the water.’
“The son looked for it, but could not find it; for
the salt, of course, had dissolved.
“The father said, ‘Taste some of the water firom
the surface of the vessel. How is it?’
“ ‘Salty.’
“ ‘Taste some fiom the middle. How is it?’
“ ‘Salty’.
“ ‘Taste some from the bottom. How is it?’
“ ‘Salty.’
“The father said, ‘Throw the water away and then
come back to me again.’
“The son did so; but the salt was not lost, for the
salt exists forever.
“Then the father said, ‘Here likewise in this body
of yours, my son, you do not perceive the True; but
there in fact it is. In that which is the subtle essence, all
that exists has its self. That is the True, that is the Self,
and thou, Svetaketu, art That.’ ”
Unity, completeness, wholeness, integration—this
is the goal of all esoteric teaching; and those who
work to attain the highest levels of consciousness
can experience the universe as the unity its name
Indeed, Western science is coming more and more
to provide evidence of a physical basis for the intuitive
knowledge of the Eastern mystic.
“Separate, individual existences are illusions of
common sense,” says Aldous Huxley, in Ends and
Means. “Scientific investigation reveals—and these
findings, as we shall see later on, are confirmed by the
direct intuition of the trained mystic and contem-
plative—that concrete reahty consists of the inter-
dependent parts of a totahty and that independent
existences are merely abstractions firom that reality.”
And later: “More recently investigators, trained in
the discipline of mathematical physics and equipped
with instruments of precision, have made observa-
tions from which it could be inferred that all the
apparently independent existences in the world are
built up of a limited number of patterns of identical
units of energy. An ultimate physical identity under-
lines the apparent physical diversity of the world.
Moreover, all apparently independent existences are
in fact interdependent. Meanwhile the mystics had
shown that investigators, trained in the discipline of
recollection and meditation, could obtain direct
experience of a spiritual unity tmderlying the apparent
diversity of independent consciousness. They made it
clear that what seemed to be the ultimate fact of per-
sonahty was in reality not an ultimate fact, and that
it was possible for individuals to transcend the limita-
tions of personahty and to merge their private con-
sciousness into a greater, impersonal consciousness
underlying the personal mind.’’
What Huxley says is borne out by the interesting
report of the Peckham biologists:
. . plant, animal and man live by the same
biological law. The laws that govern growth and
development apply equally to the organism as a
whole, or to its parts. . . . the process of diversifica-
tion so characteristic of organism and, as a result of
the hfe process, equally apparent in the environment,
must denote some PROGRESSIVE ORDER in the latter.
Can it be that the environment, also ‘in process’, is
taking on an orientation as ordered as that which the
embryologist can follow so clearly in the differentia-
tion of the embryo—like the chick developing from
the amorphous material of the egg? Is, then, the
process we call ‘evolution’, with all its manifest
expressions, but one universal expression of the
‘organization’ of the environment itself? Is the
environment ALIVE?
“The mutual action of organism and environment,
associated as we rise in the biological scale with an
increasing degree of autonomy of the organism,
recalls forcibly to mind the circumstances of a single
cell, such for instance as the liver cell, set in the body
of which it is an infinitesimal part. The cell acts as
Hver cell carrying on the specific function of ‘liver-
ness’, yet always, in health, ‘aware’ of, and subject
to, the wider needs of the body of which it is part
and from which it derives sustenance. It is the RELA-
TIONSHIP TO THE BODY which alone gives significance
to its individuahty as liver cell as well as to its unique
function of Uvemess.
“The pathologist is only too famihar with the
situation that arises where this dehcately poised
relationship of the cell’s autonomy within the sphere
of a greater organization—the body—is absent.
When the cell multiphes without reference to the
impulses of the greater organization of the body of
its inhabitation, the result is cancer, the definition
of which might be stated as ‘multiplication without
function’—loss of individuahty. Such procedure ushers
in antagonism, disrupting the mutual association be-
tween the cell and its environment—and ends in the
ultimate destruction of the cell, of the body in which
it grows, or of both.
“Thus the body as an organization is, in fact, the
ultimate significance of the cell. Can it then be that
Man himself is but a cell in the body of Cosmos; and
that Cosmos is organismal as he is?
“Without being able to define the factual basis of
their intuition—for that can only come through
science—wise men in all ages have acted with a deep
intuitive consciousness of this as truth. Upon it they
have built their hopes, their conduct and their religions.
Only now, as intuitive apprehension seems to be
wearing thin and threadbare, are men of science being
led, through the study of function, to suspect that
there may even be a physical basis for these primitive
intuitive actions; that in fact the significance of human
living lies in the degree of MUTUALITY established
with an all pervading order. Nature—^whether we
deify her or not.”
Here we have Western scientists reporting that
indeed man may be—as the Eastern Yogi says—
microcosm in macrocosm.
With the feeling of oneness with all life that Raja
Yoga promotes comes an awakening of reverence for
life and love towards all living things. Each Self is
but a drop in the ocean of Overself. The Yogi realizes
his brotherhood with all men. He realizes that the
truth is many-sided and is therefore tolerant of the
ideas and behefs of others.
He knows the secret of happiness, which is non-
l62 YOGA

attachment to desires. For there can be no end to

desires. If they are frustrated, you feel pain and un-
happiness. If they are partly satisfied, you crave full
satisfaction. If they are fully satisfied, the desires
transfer elsewhere and you are still unsatisfied. If
they are desires of the senses, immediately they are
satisfied you desire them again. The craver of
sexual excitement is not contented with last year’s
or even yesterday’s pleasures. The craving is with-
out end. It is insatiable. Desirelessness brings liberty
and freedom, non-attachment is equanimity and
Hatha Yoga prepares the body and mind for the
spiritual exercises of Raja Yoga. No other system so
perfectly and effectively realizes the ideal of mens
Sana in corpore sano. Yoga shows the way to physical
and mental well-being. It integrates. It promotes a
balanced personality. It puts the whole being into
harmony with the universe. (It is interesting to note
that the Peckham experimenters defined health as
When a person has practised Yoga for some time
friends notice a great change in him. He looks and is,
healthier, brighter of eye, and clearer of skin. He is
more composed, relaxed, courteous, tactful, humble
and tolerant. He has control of his emotions, and
because of his self-mastery commands the respect of
others. He is at peace with himself and with the
In conclusion, let me point out that, as with other
practices, results are proportionate to the amount of
effort expended.
As the Hatha Yoga Pradipika says:
“Whether young, old or too old, sick or lean, one
who discards laziness, gets success if he practises
Yoga. Success comes to him who is engaged in the
practice; for by merely reading books on Yoga, one
can never get success. Success cannot be attained by
adopting a particular dress. It cannot be gained by
telling tales. Practice alone is the means of success.”
■ \

■M ‘ 1ijj,^i
_ id riri ;/>t

Having seated yourself comfortably, select a quota-

tion, concentrate quietly on its words and their
meanings, think about it, ponder its truth. Ask your-
self questions about it. What is the writer trying to
say? Do you feel that what he says is true? What can
you learn 6om it, and how can you apply it to
enrich and develop your own spiritual life? Go on in
this way until you have distilled the essence of the
selected quotation. Then make a Samyama on that

Whatever may be the charm of emotion, I do not

know whether it equals the sweetness of those hours
of silent meditation, in which we have a glimpse and
foretaste of the contemplative joys of Paradise.
Desire and fear, sadness and care, are done away.
Existence is reduced to the simplest form, the most
ethereal mode of being, that is, to pure self-conscious-
ness. It is a state of harmony without tension and
without disturbance, the dominical state of the soul,
perhaps the state which awaits it beyond the grave.
It is happiness as the Orientals understand it, the
happiness of the anchorite, who neither struggles nor
wishes any more, but simply adores and enjoys. It is
difficult to find words in which to express this moral
situation, for our languages can only render the
particular and localized vibrations of life; they are
incapable of expressing this motionless concentration,
this divine quietude, this state of the resting ocean,
which reflects the sky, and is master of its own pro-
fimdities. Things are then re-absorbed into their
principles; memories are swallowed up in memory;
the soul is only soul, and is no longer conscious of
itself in its individuality and separateness. It is some-
thing which feels the universal life, a sensible atom of
the Divine, of God. It no longer appropriates anything
to itself, it is conscious of no void. Only the Yoghis
and Soufis perhaps have known in its profundity this
humble and yet voluptuous state, which combines
the joys of being and of non-being, which is neither
reflection nor will, which is above both the moral
existence and the intellectual existence, which is the
return to unity, to the pleroma, the vision of Plotinus
and of Proclus—Nirvana in its most attractive form.
AMIEL from his Journal

One who is at peace and is qxoiet no sorrow or harm

can enter, no evil breath can invade. Therefore, his
inner power remains whole and his spirit intact. . . .
Truly is it said, “If the bodily frame of a man labours
and has no rest, it wears itself out; if his spiritual
essence is used without cessation, then it flags, and
having flagged, runs dry.
“The nature of water is that if nothing is mixed with
it, it remains clear; if nothing ruffles it, it remains
smooth. But if it is obstructed so that it does not flow,
then too it loses its clearness. In these ways it is a
symbol of the heavenly powers that are in man.’'
Truly is it said, “A purity unspoiled by any contami-
nation, a peace and unity not disturbed by any varia-
tion, detachment and inactivity broken only by such
movement as is in accord with the motions of Heaven
—such are the secrets that conserve the soul.”
CHUANG TZU (translated Waley).

The individual seeking for the law of his being can

only find it safely if he regards clearly two great
psychological truths and lives in that clear vision.
First, the ego is not the self; there is one self of all
and the soul is a portion of that universal Divinity.
The fulfilment of the individual is not the utmost
development of his egotistic intellect, vital force,
physical well-being, and the utmost satisfaction of liis
mental, emotional, physical cravings, but the flowering
of the divine in him to its utmost capacity of wisdom,
power, love and universahty, and through this
flowering his utmost reaUzation of all the possible
beauty and delight of existence. . . .
The second psychic truth the individual has to grasp
is this: that he is not only himself, but is in solidarity
with all of his kind—let us leave aside for the moment
that which seems to be not of his kind. That which
we are has expressed itself through the individual,
but also through the universahty; and though each
has to fulfil itself in its own way, neither can succeed
independently of the other. . . .
This is what a true subjectivism teaches us—first,
that we are a higher self than our ego or our members,
secondly, that we are in our life and being not only
ourselves but all others; for there is a secret soHdarity
which our egoism may^ kick at and strive against, but
from which we cannot escape. It is the old Indian
discovery that our real “I” is a Supreme Being which
is our true self and which it is our business to discover
and consciously become; and, secondly, that our
Being is one in all, expressed in the individual and in
the collectivity—and only by admitting and realizing
our unity with others can we entirely fulfil our true
self-being. AUROBINDO. From The Human Cycle.

And this immortal and perfect soul must be the

same in the highest God as well as in the humblest
man, the difference between them being only in the
degree in which this soul manifests itself.

Better keep yourself clean and bright: you are the

window through which you must see the world.
Man & Superman

Thou art man and woman, boy and girl; old and
worn thou walkest bent over a staff; thou art the
blue bird and the green and the scarlet-eyed.
From the Swetaswatara Upanishad

Wretched is the soul that does not feel its own

fruitfulness, and know itself to be big with life and
love, as a tree with blossom in the spring!
ROMAIN ROLLAND. From Jean-Christophe

“The Sufi,” says Jalal-uddin Rumi, “is the son of time

present.” Spiritual progress is a spiral advance. We
start as infants in the animal eternity of life in the
moment, without anxiety for the future or regret of
the past; we grow up into the specifically human
condition of those who look before and after, who live
to a great extent, not in the present but in memory
and anticipation, not spontaneously but by rule and
with prudence, in repentance and fear and hope; and
we can continue, if we so desire, up and on in a re-
turning sweep towards a point corresponding to our
starting place in animaUty, but incommensurably
above it. Once more hfe is Hved in the moment—
the life now, not of a sub-human creature, but of a
being in whom charity has cast out fear, vision has
taken the place of hope, selflessness has put a stop to
the positive egotism of complacent reminiscence
and the negative egotism of remorse. The present
moment is the only aperture through which the soul
can pass out of time into eternity, through which
grace can pass out of eternity into the soul, and
through which charity can pass from one soul in time
into another. That is why the Sufi and, along with
him, every other practising exponent of the Perennial
Philosophy is, or tries to be, a son of time present.
ALDOUS HUXLEY. From The Perennial Philosophy
It is eternity now. I am in the midst of it. It is about
me in the sunshine; I am in it, as the butterfly floats
in the light-laden air. Nothing has to come; it is now.
Now is eternity; now is the immortal life. Here this
moment, by this tumulus, on earth now; I exist in it.
The years, the centuries, the cycles are absolutely
nothing; it is only a moment since this tumulus was
raised; in a thousand years more it will still be only
a moment. To the soul there is no past and no future;
all is and will be ever, in now.
RICHARD JEFFERIES. From The Story of my

As a mother, even at the risk of her own life, pro-

tects her son, her only son, so let there be good will
without measure between all beings. Let good will
without measure prevail in the whole world, above,
below, around, unstinted, unmixed with any feeling
of differing or opposing interests. If a man remain
steadfastly in this state of mind all the time he is
awake, then is come to pass the saying, ‘‘Even in this
world holiness has been found.’’ Metta Sutta

By reason of the quite universal idea ... of parti-

cipation in a common nature, it (thought) is compelled
to declare the unity of mankind with aU created
ALBERT SCHWEITZER. From Indian Thought and
its Development
The important thing is that we are part of Hfe. We
are bom of other lives; we possess the capacities to
bring still other lives into existence. In the same way,
if we look into a microscope we see cell producing
cell. ... In the very fibres of our being, we bear
within ourselves the fact of the sohdarity of life.
ALBERT SCHWEITZER. From The Ethics of Reverence
for Life

Of one tree are ye all the fruit and of one bough the
leaves. . . The world is but one country and mankind
its citizens. . . Let not a man glory in that he loves
his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves
his kind. Sayings of BAHAULLAH.

He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his

brother, is in darkness even until now.
He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and
there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
I John 2, 9-10.

The whole length and breadth of the wide world

is pervaded by the radiant thoughts of a mind
all-embracing, vast and boundless,
in which dwells no hate nor ill-will.
With radiant thoughts of love, of compassion,
of sympathy and of poise
his mind pervades each of the worlds four quarters
above, below, across, everywhere.
From the Vatthupuma Sutta

what is love? To love mankind.

What is wisdom? To know mankind.
Saying of CONFUCIUS.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of

angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding
brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and under-
stand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I
have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and
have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor,
and though I give my body to be burned, and have
not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth
not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not
her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all
things, endureth all thiugs.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be pro-
phecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they
shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall
vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that
which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood
as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a
man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then
face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I
know even as also I am known.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three;
but the greatest of these is charity.
I Corinthians 13.

What is it that makes atoms come and join atoms,

molecule molecules, sets big planets flying towards
each other, attracts man to woman, woman to man,
human beings to human beings, animals to animals,
drawing the whole universe, as it were, towards one
centre? That is what is called love. Its manifestation
is j&om the lowest atom to the highest ideal: omni-
present, all-pervading, everywhere is this love. . . .
It is the one motive power that is in the universe.
Under the impetus of that love, Christ stands to give
up His life for humanity, Buddha for an animal, the
mother for the child, the husband for the wife. It is
under the impetus of the same love that men are ready
to give up their Uves for their country, and strange to
say, under the impetus of that same love, the thief goes
to steal, the murderer to murder; for in these cases,
the spirit is the same. . . , The thief has love of gold,
the love was there but it was misdirected. So, in aU
crimes, as well as in all virtuous actions, behind stands
that eternal love. • . . The motive power of the
universe is love, without which the universe will fall
to pieces in a moment, and this love is God.
VrvEKANANDA. From Bhakti Yoga

ReaUze that thou art ‘That’—Brahman which is

supreme, beyond the range of all speech, but which
may be known through the eye of pure wisdom. It is
pure, absolute consciousness, the eternal substance.
The wise man in Samadhi perceives in his heart
That something which is eternal Knowledge, pure
Bhss, incomparable, eternally free, actionless, as
Umitless as space, stainless, without distinction of
subject and object, and which is all-pervading Brah-
man (in essence).
SRI SANKARACHARYA. From The Crest Jewel of
Wisdom. Verses 256 and 409.

The wise man severs quickly and completely, by

means of the sword of Knowledge, the shackles
created by conscious or unconscious action and dwells
in the pure self. As a vast, roaring fire consumes wood,
both dry and wet, so the fire of Knowledge destroys,
in a moment, all good and evil actions. As a lotus leaf
is not contaminated by water, though floating on it,
so the knower of the Self is not contaminated by sound,
touch, taste, etc. As a snake-charmer possessing the
mantra power is not bitten by snakes, though playing
with them, so the knower of the Self is not injured
by the snakes of the sense-organs, though playing
with them. As poison which has been swallowed by a
man is digested through the power of mantra and
medicine, so the sins of the wise are consumed in-
stantaneously through the power of Knowledge.
From the Sivadharmottara

Unity is the touchstone of truth. All that contri-

butes to unity is truth.
ViVEKANANDA. From Practical Vedanta

Peace is not lack of war, but an inner virtue, wliich

has its source in the courage of the soul.

May all beings be happy and at their ease! May they

be joyous and live in safety! All beings—whether
weak or strong—omitting none—in high, middle, or
low realms of existence, small or great, visible or
invisible, near or far away, born or to be bom—may
all beings be happy and at their ease 1 Let none deceive
another, or despise any being in any state; let none
by anger or ill-will wish harm to another! Even as
a mother watches over and protects her child, her
only child, so with a boundless mind should one
cherish all Hving beings, radiating friendliness over the
entire world, above, below, and all around without
hmit; so let him cultivate a boundless goodwill
towards the entire world, uncramped, free from ill-
will or enmity.
From the Metta Sutta

May peace reign in the heavenly region, may it

reign in the atmosphere, may it fill the four comers
of the earth, may the waters be soothing and the
medicinal herbs be healing; may plants be the source
of peace to all creatures; may all enlightened persons
bring peace to us; may the Vedas spread peace
throughout; may all other objects everywhere give
us peace, and may peace itself bring peace to all and
may that peace come to me and remain with me

Peace chant from the Yajur-Veda

Ahimsa Non-violence
Ajna . . . . Command Chakra
Akasha Ether
Anahata Unstruck Sound Chakra
Apana . . . . Outgoing breath
Aparigrapha Non-receiving
Ardha-Matsyendrasana . Twist Posture
Asanas Postures
Asteya . . . . Non-stealing
Atman . . . . The Individual Soul

Baddha Padmasana Adept Posture

Basti . . . . One of the six purification
Bhakti Yoga Union by love
Bhastrika Bellows Breath
Bhujangasana Cobra Posture
Brahman The Overself; the Supreme

Chakra Centre
Chakrasana . Wheel Posture
Chitta . . . • Mind stuff

Dhanurasana Bow Posture

Dharana Concentration
Dhauti .... One of the six purification
Dhyana Contemplation
Guru . • Yoga master

Halasana . Plough Posture

Hansah . I am He
Hatha Yocta . . Union by bodily control

Ida . Left nostril

Ishvara Pranidhana . Worship

Jalandhara . Chin-lock
Janusirasana . . Kaiee and Head Posture
Japa . . Repetition of sacred syllables,
words and mantras
Jnana Yoga . • Union by knowledge

Kaivalya . Isolation
Kapalabhati . . Cleansing Breath
Kukkutasana . Cock Posture
Kumbhaka . . Breath suspension
Kundalini . Latent energy; ‘The coiled

Manipura . Jewel City Chakra

Mantra Yoga . Union by speech
Mantras . Prayers
Matsyasana . Fish Posture
Mayurasana . Peacock Posture
Muladhara , Root Chakra
Muni . . Sage

Nadas . . Mystic sounds

Nadis . . Nerves
Nauli . . One of the six purification
Ned . One of the six purification
Niyamas Observances

Om (Aum) Sacred syllable; symbol of

Atman and Brahman; the
basis of all sound

Padhahasthasana • Standing Posterior Stretch

Padmasana . . Lotus Posture
Parbatasana . . Mountain Posture
Paschimatanasana , Posterior Stretch Posture
PatanjaU . ‘The father of Yoga’
Pingala , Right nostril
Prana . . The life force; incoming
Pranayama . . Breath control
Pratyahara . Sense withdrawal
Puraka . . Inhalation
Purusha . The inner Self

Sahasrara • Thousand Petaled Lotus

Salabhasana . . Locust Posture
Samadhi , Self-realization; Supercon-
sciousness; the highest stage
of Yoga practice
Samprajanya . Awareness
Samyama . The last three limbs of Yoga
practised together
Santosha . Contentment
Sarvangasana . Shoulder Stand Posture
Satya . . Truthfulness
Shat Karma . . The Purification Practices
Siddhas. . Adepts
Siddhasana . . Perfect Posture
Siddhis . Supra-natural powers
Sirsasana . Inverted Body Posture; Yoga
Head Stand
Sitali . A breathing exercise
Sitkari . A breathing exercise
Soham . . He is I
Sukhasana . Easy Posture
Sukh Purvak . Comfortable Pranayama
Simya . . The void
Supta-Vajrasana . Pelvic Posture
Svadhishthana . Support of Life Breath Chakra
Svadhyaya . Study
Syadvada . Philosophic doctrine resem-
bling relativism

Tapa . . Austerity
Trataka . One of the six purification

Uddiyana . Retraction of the abdominal

Uljayi . . . . Audible Breath
Uttanakurmakasana . Tortoise Posture

Vairagya . Detachment
Vishuddha . Great Purity Chakra
Vrittis . . Thought waves
Yoga , • • . Union; ‘to yoke’; merging of
the individual with the
universal soul
Yoga Mudra • Symbol of Yoga Posture
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Abegg, Dr. Lily, 103. Bhastrika, 77-79, 89, 92.

Acid drinking, 17, 18. Bhujangasana, 54, 55, 65, 87,
Ahimsa, 27. 91, 92, 93, 94.
Amiel, 166. Brahmacharya, 27, 28.
Anima, 141. Brahman, 123, 136.
Apana, 130. Bronchitis, 65.
Aparagrapha, 27, 28. Brotherhood, 161.
Ardha-Matsyendrasana, 59, 65. Brunton, Dr. Paul, 20.
Ariphon, 31. Buddhism, 8.
Asanas, 27, 38. Burial aUve, 17.
benefits from, 22, 32.
described, 49-64.
advanced, 57-64. Carrel, Alexis, 35.
therapeutic powers, 65, 66. Cat Stretch, 90, 93.
making the most of, 83-94. Chakras, 16, 144, 145.
Asteya, 27, 28. Chakrasana, 62, 63.
Asthma, 65, 80. Chandogya Upanishady 9, 156.
Atman, 136. Chitta, 125, 129, 139, 147.
Aurobindo, Sri, 100, 167, 168. Christianity, 10, ii, 130.
bible quotations, 171, 172.
Baddha Padmasana, 61. Chuang Tzu, 167.
Bahaullah, 171. Colonic Irrigation, 40.
Basti, 39, 40, 41. Confucius, 172.
Beds of nails, 17. Consciousness, 115, 122, 154,
Beethoven, 150. levels of, 105.
Bernard, Theos, 37, 85, 86, 88, pure, 121, 123, 134.
89, 152. directed, 131.
Bhagavad Gitay 8, 17, 96, 113, Constipation, 47, 62, 65.
130. Consumption, 80.
Bhakti Yoga, 12, 13. Courage, 99.
Danielou, Alain, ii, 30, 97. Goraksha Samhitay 30,
Dhammapaday 8. Gurdjieff, 106.
Dhanurasana, 54, 87, 92, 93, 94. Guru, 37, 131, 156.
Dharana, 15, 16, 27, loi, 117, Guru Nanaky 9.
130, 1^6.
technique, 124-136. Hair shirt, 17.
powers from, 142, 143. Halasana, 51, 52, 65, 66, 92.
Dhauti, 39, 40. Happiness, 165.
Dhyana, 15, 27, loi, 117, 146. Haridas, Yogi, 17.
technique, 128-129. Hatha Yoga, 63.
contemplation of the void, benefits from, ii, 12, 14, 29,
133* 32, 34, 36.
contemplation of the inner meaning of, 29, 30.
light, 134. and the personaUty, 36, 97.
Diabetes, 65. a rigorous programme, 37.
Diamonds, a world of, 135. and meditation, 112.
Diet, Yoga, 43-48. Hatha Yoga Pradipikay 26, 40,
Dorsey, George A., 34.
44, 45, 81, 131, 163.
Health, 31.
East, wisdom of, 19, 20. emotions and, 37, 98.
and West, 101-105. His wealth, loi.
Ego, blotting it out, 134, 135, Heart complaints, 88.
150. High blood-pressure, 88.
Egoism, 13, 141. induism, 9, ii, 130.
Einstein, 103. Hormones, 34.
Emerson, 31. Huxley, Aldous, 158, 159, 169.
Evans-Wentz, W. Y., 134. Hygiene, Yoga, 39-43-
Hypnosis, 103, 116, 117.
Fakirs, 17.
Ida, 30.
Gandhi, Mahatma, 27. Ignatius, St., of Loyola, 10.
Garima, 141. Indigestion, 47, 65.
Gheranda Samhitay 41, 44, 45, Insomnia, 65.
64. Integration, 15, 162.
Glands, 16, 34, 35, 98, 144. Intuition 121, 124, 137, 161.
Isaak, St., of Syria, 102. Maiiarshi, Sri Ramana, 121.
Ishitva, 141. Mabima, 141.
Ishvara Prarddhana, 29. Mantra, 12, 13, 135.
Islam, 9. Mason, 118, 119.
Matsyasana, 60, 65, 66.
Mayurasana, 58, 65.
Jainism, 10.
Meditation, 8.
Jalandhara, 79.
Buddhist, 10.
James,William, 102, 106.
Yoga, 103, 104.
Janusirasana, 63, 64, 65, 66.
postures, 66, 72, 73, 74, 112,
Japa, 23, 29, 135, 136.
Japan, 103. 113-
time, no. III.
Jefferies, Richard, 170.
place. III, 112.
Jnana Yoga, 12.
Tibetan technique, 134.
Jung, Dr. C. G., 102.
exercises, 165-176.
Menstrual disorders, 65.
Kaivalya, 142. Metta Sutta, 170, 175.
Kapalabhati, 39, 43, 75, 76, 89, Mind, 14.
92, 93, 94. mastery of, 14, 113, 114,
Karma Yoga, 12, 13. 118-121.
Koran, 9. subconscious, 16, 103.
Kukkutasana, 61. tranquillity, 36, 99, 100.
Kumbhaka, 76, 77, 78, 89. and breathing, 118.
Kundalini, 16, 78, 143, 144. Miracles, Yoga, 17.
Kuvalayananda, Srimat, 65. Moderation, 17.
Kwang Tze, 10. Morel, C. F., 151.
Mouni, Sadhu, 152.
Muni, 131.
Laghima, 141.
Mushin, 148.
La Rue, loi.
Music, 150, 151.
Lay a Yoga, 16, 143.
Lonavla, Yoga Research Lab- Nadas 131-133.
oratory, 65. Nadis, 43, 75, 76, 78, 144.
Longevity, 36, 80. Narasingha, Swami, l8.
Love, 99, 172, 173, 174. Nauli, 18, 39, 40, 43, 65, 66,
Lumbago, 65. 85, 86.
Nerve Ganglia, i6, 33. Prapti, 141.
Nervous system, 31-33, 64, 76, Pratyahara, 27, 112, 122, 124,
77, 79. 129.
Nervous tension, 67. technique, 114-118.
Neti, 39, 41, 84. Psycho-analysis, 103.
Neurasthenia, 66, 67. Puraka, 75, 79.
Nicholl, Maurice, 105, 154. Purusha, 123, 141, 142.
Niyamas, 27, 29.
Nuclear physics, 104.
Raja Yoga, ii, 12, 14, 15, 16,
30, 36,
Obesity, 47, 64, 66.
The Royal Path, 97-109.
Om (Aum), 136.
and reason, 108, 109.
Ouspensky, 106, 121.
a positive state, 117.
Oxygen deficiency, 72.
Ramakrishna, ii, 149.
Rechaka, 75, 77.
Padhahasthasana, 57, 65, 66. Rejuvenation, 35, 76.
Padrnasana, 66, 73, 143. Relaxation, Yoga, 12, 67-69.
Parbatasana, 62, 65, 66, 94. Rheumatism, 66.
Paschimatanasana, 56, 57, 65, Rolland, Romain, 96, 169.
66, 87, 92, 93, 94.
Patanjah, 54.
Sutras, 27,115,124,126,133, Salabhasana, 57, 58, 65.
137, 139, 142, 146, 147. Samadhi, 146-163.
Peace, 175, 176. highest stage of Yoga prac-
Peckham Report, 159-161. tice, 7, 15, 27, loi, 133,
Physic powers, 14, 16, 27, 124, 148.
137-145- paths to, 12.
Piles, 66. through worship, 29.
Pingala, 30, 78. through Dharana, 124.
Prakamya, 141. the effulgent light, 133.
Prana, 31, 70, 71, 72, 90. obstacles to, 139.
Pranayama, 27, 29, 66, 97, 112. with and without seed, 146-
breathing exercises, 70-80. 148.
powers fiom, 141. its nature, 148-153.
Samprajanya, 126. Sukh Purvak, 76, 77, 93.
Samyama, 137, 165. Supta-Vajrasana, 60.
psychic powers from, 137- Sutra-Kritanga Sutray 10.
142. Suzuki, Daisetz, 148.
Sankaracharya, Sri, 174. Svadhyaya, 29.
Santosha, 29. Svetasvatara Upanishady 123.
Sarvangasana, 50, 51, 65, 66, Swetaswatara Upanishady 168.
86, 92, 93, 94. Syadvada, 103.
Satya, 27, 28. Synthesis of Yogas, 13.
Saucha, 29.
Savasana, 65, 66, 67-69, 90, 92,
Taittirya Upanishady 136.
93, 94.
Taoism, 10, 37.
Schiller, 125.
Tapa, 29.
Schweitzer, Albert, 171.
Teeth, 44, 84.
Sciatica, 66.
Tennyson, 150.
Self, the quest for, 121-123.
Tibetan Book of the Deady 134.
Self-mastery, 14, 34, 70, 97-
Time, inward, 35.
living in the now, 153-155.
Sexual debility, 66.
time present, 169.
Shat Karma, 27, 39.
Trataka, 39, 41.
Shaw, G. B., 168.
Trikonasana, 63, 65.
Shiva Sanhitay 155.
Siddhas, 139, 143.
Siddhasana, 66, 73. Uddiyana, 42,43,65,85,92,93.
Sikhism, 9.
Ujjayi, 79, 80, 89, 92, 94.
Sirsasana, 52, 53, 88, 92, 93. Union, 7.
Sitali, 81. Unity of life, 12,155-163,170,
Sitkari, 80. 171, 175.
Siva, 64, 143. Ushin, 148.
Siva Samhitay 23, 133, 142. Uttanakurasana, 61.
Sivadharmottaray 175.
Spinoza, 175.
Sulhvan, J.W. N., 150. Vairagya, 99, 122.
Sunya, 143. Vajrasana, 59, 60.
Sukhasana, 66, 73, 112. Varicose veins, 66.
Vashitva, 141. Yamas, 27.
Vatthupuma Suttay 171. Yajur-Veda, 176.
Vishnu Parana, 115. Yeats-Brown, F., 18.
Visualization, 129-131. Yoga, meaning of, 7, 8.
Visvanatha, 7. and rehgion, ii.
Vivekananda, 13, 31, 71, 108, paths, 12.
113, 116, 137, 142, 146, benefits from, 21-24, 31, 32,
147,148, 168, 174. 162.
Volgyesi, Dr. Francis, 37. the eight limbs, 27.
Vrischikasana, 64. time required, 83, 84.
Vrittis, 125. place, 84.
programmes, 92-94.
and reason, 108-109.
Yogacara, ii.
Walker, Dr. Kenneth, 36. Yoga Mudra, 65, 66.
Women, Yoga for, 49.
exercise programme, 94. Zen-Buddhism, 104, 148.
• i

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